General Litigation

The Strangely Public Prosecution of Dominique Strauss-Kahn

I am amazed at the way the NY District Attorney’s Office is handling the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund accused of forcing a NYC hotel chambermaid to perform oral sex. Normally, the NY DA’s office has protected alleged victims of sexual crimes with a passion bordering on that of Joan of Arc. Fiercely loyal to their complainants, the NYDA usually is completely button-lipped about the facts of a sex crime and the issues surrounding them. Here, we know everything that is happening on a regular basis. The papers report whenever the parties are meeting to discus the case. After it was revealed by the defense that there were major inconsistencies in the woman’s story, I was shocked that the DA’s office confirmed it. Here ‘s a quote that appeared in the NY Post:

“The investigation is continuing. It may lead to dismissal. It may not,” a senior prosecutor involved in the case said yesterday, adding the DA’s Office has not decided whether to go forward with the case.

Read more:

This kind of comment is unheard of from the NYDA’s office. Earlier the NY Times published this:

Since her initial allegation on May 14, the accuser has repeatedly lied, one of the law enforcement officials said.Senior prosecutors met with lawyers for Mr. Strauss-Kahn on Thursday and provided details about their findings, and the parties are discussing whether to dismiss the felony charges. Among the discoveries, one of the officials said, are issues involving the asylum application of the 32-year-old housekeeper, who is Guinean, and possible links to people involved in criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.

In today’s NY Times, a reporter was able to craft three different scenarios from the timelines provided by the DA’s office. The defense also boasted that a 90 minute meeting held with the DA today was “productive.” After the defendant was indicted, the DA wrote a letter advising them that she had changed her story about what she did after the incident. The letter indicated that the complainant at first said she hid in a hallway waiting for DSK to leave, but then later admitted that she actually went to clean another room afterwards and then went back to the room where it happened to clean that room, all before calling in the incident. The DA was obligated to reveal that information as the DA’s office is obligated under law to advise the defense of evidence that tends to prove the innocence of the defendant. But the letter went further. It also advised the defense that the woman had repeatedly lied in her asylum petition to gain access to the United States. It went into great detail in advising the defense how the woman claimed she had been gang-raped and then later admitted that she had not been sexually assaulted. The letter is of course now available on the net:

While I applaud the DA’s office for providing this to the defense in such a quick fashion, I wonder why the DA’s office is treating this case so differently from any other sex crime it has handled. While DSK has excellent counsel, the DA’s office has gone up against Ben Brafman many times before without letting the world know that its case was falling down like a house of cards. The complainant has not changed her mind – in fact her lawyer has repeatedly admonished the DA’s office for its treatment of her in the press. Could it be that the DA’s office feels remorseful about hauling this man off a plane, making him lose his bid for the presidency of France, lose his position as head of the IMF, locking him up in a townhouse at $200,000 a month in security costs, all for what now appears to be a difficult if not an unprovable case? The case is next on in court on July 18. Lets see what revelations that court appearance will bring. I would not be surprised if Judge Michael Obus imposes a gag order on the parties to try and rein some control over all the commentary going on.

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