Dueling Perspectives on the Case Against DSK


Lawyers for former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn are meeting with Manhattan prosecutors today in an attempt to resolve the criminal case against him. Meanwhile, two New York Times columnists, Joe Nocera and Jim Dwyer, offer dueling perspectives, both pretty persuasive, on what has happened so far. Nocera argues that District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. "did the right thing" both in charging Strauss-Kahn with sexual assault and in re-examining the charge after doubts emerged about the credibility of his accuser, a housekeeper at the Sofitel in midtown Manhattan:

In just six weeks—an extraordinarily short time, as these things go—[prosecutors] put together a devastating profile of her past, filled with troubling inconsistencies, outright lies and the possibility that she hopes to profit from her alleged ordeal.

The prosecutors waste no time divulging these exculpatory facts to the man's lawyers. Then, in open court, they tell the judge what they've found. He releases the man from house arrest. Though the case is not yet abandoned, it almost surely will be….

The woman alleged rape…which was backed up by physical (and other) evidence. She had no criminal record. Her employer vouched for her. The quick decision to indict made a lot of sense, both for legal and practical reasons [since Strauss-Kahn had been about to leave the country]. Then, as the victim's credibility crumbled, Vance didn't try to pretend that he still had a slam dunk, something far too many prosecutors do. He acknowledged the problems….

A woman with no power made a credible accusation against a man with enormous power. [Vance] acted without fear or favor. To have done otherwise would have been to violate everything we believe in this country about no one being above the law…

We live in a country that professes to treat everyone equally under the law. So often we fall short. The poor may go unheard; the rich walk. Yet here is a case that actually lives up to our ideal of who we like to think we are. Even the way the case appears to be ending speaks to our more noble impulses. Vance didn't dissemble or delay or hide the truth about the victim's past. He did the right thing, painful though it surely must have been.

Nocera too blithely dismisses concerns about "perp walks" for defendants who are presumed innocent, and he does not explore the possibility that Vance's office rushed the indictment because it needlessly sought to keep Strauss-Kahn in jail instead of agreeing to have him released on bail (which would have given prosecutors more time to investigate). But I think he's right that Vance deserves credit for promptly revealing the weaknesses in his case, which is not something that prosecutors like to do.

Dwyer, by contrast, argues that none of the revelations about the woman's past show she is lying about her encounter with Strauss-Kahn and that Vance should take the case to trial:

There is evidence in the case that other people can provide, notably, crime lab results that show the semen of Mr. Strauss-Kahn was found on her clothing….

In the moments after the encounter between Mr. Strauss-Kahn and the housekeeper, four employees at the Sofitel New York each spoke to her, one after the other, and each was convinced that she was "shook up" and "in distress," according to a person involved with that part of the investigation. "You had two former police officers who didn't think she was making it up," the person said.

The Times likewise reports that her account "was so compelling that it brought tears to the eyes of seasoned investigators." Which could just mean that she's a good liar. But Dwyer goes through the timeline revealed by key card records and security camera footage, arguing that it jibes with the woman's account and undermines the notion that she targeted Strauss-Kahn because of his wealth. (Her lawyer claims a taped telephone conversation in which she allegedly talked about milking the case for money was mistranslated.) Although persuading a jury of the woman's veracity may be difficult, Dwyer says, that does not mean Strauss-Kahn is innocent.

That much is obviously true: Aside from the whole "reasonable doubt" thing, jurors might be swayed by logically irrelevant details (such as lying on an asylum application or associating with with a drug dealer) that make the accuser look bad without shedding any light on what actually happened in that hotel room. Speaking of which, I have to admit I am curious to hear Strauss-Kahn's explanation of how his semen got on the woman's clothing. If he claims the encounter was consensual, that presumably means he paid for it, since it's hard to imagine that a hotel housekeeper would be eager to have sex with him in the middle of her workday purely on the strength of his good looks and personal charm. Either way, yuck. 

Previous coverage of DSK's legal troubles here.


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  1. I dunno. When you pull an influential man off of a flight to a country with no extradition treaty and a history of being famously non-cooperative in extraditing high-profile convicts, I think the whole Rykers/quick indictment/house arrest thing is perfectly defensible.

    This is a he said/she said case. If her credibility can be attacked with proof of previous lies under oath, especially lies about rape, its a weak case, and maybe not worth bringing to trial.

    I, of course, find perp walks abhorrent, but aside from that, I find it hard to criticize much of what the DA has done here.

    1. This is a he said/she said case.

      What about me?

    2. I think the whole Rykers/quick indictment/house arrest thing is perfectly defensible.

      You’ll lose your libertarian cred with that kind of talk. Then again, sometimes The Man is useful when he targets one’s political enemies?

      1. You have a facially credible accusation of rape. You arrest the alleged perp on a plane to a country you know you will never get him out of.

        How is doing what you can to keep him in the jurisdiction not only justifiable, but close to necessary?

        1. It’s not like the state could’ve instantly assessed the quality of the accusation. I agree completely with arresting before he could flee the jurisdiction, based on the facts that appear to have been known at the time.

          Amazing how this is now a political issue.

          1. Come now. It was a political issue at this blog from the very beginning.

            1. IMF’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn Arrested on NYC [Attempted] Rape Charge
              Tim Cavanaugh | May 15, 2011

              “The International Monetary Fund is now fucking Americans too.”

            2. WAAAAAAA!!

              Whiny McBitch takes time off of his busy day of whining(and bitching) to educate us poor monsters with his copy and paste skillz.

              I’m surprised that Whiny can see his monitor with his head so far up that frog’s ass.

              Bravo, Mr. McBitch, bravo.

              1. Oh, come on, capital l… of course the leading socialist contender for president of France who is the current head of the IMF being accused of raping a black maid in NYC and then attempting to flee has nothing to do with politics.

                1. Oh, for sure. I just want to see the frog hanged because I know that the next day Mr. McBitch would be crying in his whinios, and would have to explain to his momma why he’s blubbering at the breakfast nook.

                  If we have to sacrifice one French commie to make that happen, then so be it.

                  Omelets, broken eggs, whatever…

                  1. But, but cl… a joke was made! A politcal joke on a blog! A blog that often uses humor! HOW DARE THEY!

                    1. Don’t you know how serious this is?!?

                    2. Narcissists!

          2. Of course it’s a political issue. The idiot scum that compose TEAM RED and TEAM BLUE have to make it one. What else are they going to do all day? Work?

            1. Well, some of them apparently mix rape in with their work.

              1. A spoonful of rape makes the international loan go down, the international loan go down.

                1. Just like your mom!

                  1. My mom will never loan you money.

                    1. Sure she would, how do you think STEVE SUBPRIME SMITH built his cabin?

                    2. What?!? She owes me money! I’m not a cheap whore, you know.

            2. I don’t see this as a GOP v. Dem issue. Feminists generally side with alleged rape victims. Republicans generally hate french socialists. DSK was a uniter, not a divider.

              1. I don’t see this as a GOP v. Dem issue

                It isn’t. It’s a “libertarian” vs. IMF issue. “Libertarians” hate the IMF, thus they were delighted to learn about the rape allegations, and quick to judge Strauss-Kahn guilty as charged.

        2. I agree completely as well. MNG was talking a bunch of junk about how everyone on here was so quick to judge. I can’t see what else the DA could have done. If he had let him fly to France and the maid turned out to be a great witness, he would rightfully be getting killed for letting a powerful man go. If there is anyone who is to blame here assuming he is innocent, it is the lying bitch who falsely accused him.

          It amazes me that everyone here wants to hang the DA rather than the woman who lied and thus just made it harder for every real victim out there.

  2. He gets out of jail by confessing to soliciting prostitution…?

    1. I thought DSK’s story now is that he offered her money, they had consensual sex, then he stiffed her, as it were, The rape accusation is presumably revenge because of non-payment.

      1. The classic “She’s a whore” defense.

        1. This story comes from his lawyer, AFAIK. I mean it’s better than forcibly raping her, but it’s still pretty damn sleazy.

        2. You know who else used the “She’s a Whore” defense?

            1. It’s going to turn out that she slept with all of the jurors.

      2. So we’ve still got him for fraud, right? I mean agreeing to a service for payment and then not paying is fraud, isn’t it?

        1. Heading the IMF isn’t fraud?

          1. Yes, but it’s not legally recognizable as such, more’s the pity.

        2. Contracts for prostitution are presumably against public policy (where illegal) and, therefore, unenforceable.

          1. At least the perp walk served as a warning to the next guy to pay up.

          2. I’ve heard of people being put away on fraud charges for selling fake drugs.

          3. So back to the original question: do they plan to bring solicitation charges? I don’t think it should be illegal but it is and they certainly don’t mind charging nobodies with it or running sting operations for it.

            1. He’ll be serving time along with Eliot “Fucking Steamroller” Spitzer.

              1. DSK’s getting a talk show?

              2. He’ll get a show on CNN?

                1. Yes and yes. That’s the statutory punishment for johns in New York. Everyone you see hosting a political talk show was convicted of solicitation in New York.

                  1. Nancy Grace… soliciting male, female, or the amorphous middleground?

                    1. nancy grace’s eating too much crow just now

                    2. Nancy Grace deserves to eat a big bowl of horse turds every day for the remainder of her rotten life.

                    3. Does it matter?

                  2. I always knew O’Reilly was the type.

    2. He gets out of jail by claiming he didn’t realize she was a prostitute until she demanded payment.


  3. [Vance] acted without fear or favor. To have done otherwise would have been to violate everything we believe in this country about no one being above the law…

    Glug glug glug…

  4. Why is this national news?
    Et tu, Reason?

    1. Because the dude may end up as the president of France.

  5. The hotel maid should have stuck to prostitution,money laundering, and drug dealing. But she went over her pay grade when she tried to shake down one of the worlds most powerful men.

    1. I, for one, am proud to live in a country where a petty whore can pull herself by her own high heel straps and start her own extortion business!

      1. An immigrant, no less. Truly that is what America is all about.

  6. Utilitarianism is its easiest to understand form. DSK helps the little people, so he gets to rape a few here and there. We all have to make sacrifices–or be sacrificed–for social justice.

    1. There’s this MAT, and you JUMP to CONCLUSIONS about utilitarians.

      1. Warty, you are clever and witty, but your comments and most likely your mind is superficial and irrelevant.

          1. I see that you are so afraid to debate me you are attempting dubious humor. You know you can’t defeat me in BRAIN TO BRAIN COMBAT!

            1. Oh, I see, you’re going to be glib again because you think you’re too funny to refute my point. It’s getting comical. People get laid by behaving like this in high school, but what do you get?

            2. Is that like sumo? First brain to get pushed of the ring loses?

              1. It combines sumo, water ballet, and monster trucks… and BRAINS!

                1. Has your zombie pancreas finally corrupted the rest of your flesh? Is that why you’re fixated on BRAINS right now?

                  1. I said BRAINS, not BRAAAAAAAAAAINS… keep up, pudpuller.

                    1. fast or slow zombie?

                    2. Fast zombies are a myth.

  7. I’m kind of stunned how much this story turns a lot of people into full retards. I guess they’re still as hung up on sex as ever.

    1. If Casey Anthony were a campaign worker or something along those lines, I suppose we’d be seeing a similar alignment of viewpoints.

      1. Well, she did accuse the black supposed father of Kaylee of kidnapping her. Even though she knew he had died in a car accident the year before.

        That’s racist.

    2. If it’s not sex, teh childrenz will bring out the retard. Some of the commentary on the Anthony trial I was unwittingly exposed to yesterday was just appalling.

      1. As soon as I saw that shit on mute on the TV at the club, I knew to never, ever expose myself to the epic stupidity that must surround it.

        1. The idea that somebody doesn’t suffer retribution for a child’s death is apparently just inconceivable to way too many people.

  8. “Vance deserves credit for promptly revealing the weaknesses in his case”

    Which is what he was required to do – and he would have been caught at if he hadn’t, since DSK is rich enough to do the necessary investigation.

    To paraphrase Chris Rock, “Vance didn’t cover up information. What does he want – a cookie? He’s not *supposed* to cover up information!”

    1. I suppose Vance “deserves credit” for not raping the maid, too. What admirable chivalry!

  9. logically irrelevant

    Well, I’d say lying about a previous rape is logically relevant to a later accusation of rape, no? True, even liars about rape can be raped, but previous lies certainly seem to be something to be considered.

    1. Isn’t “Previous lies” or whatever the type of crap that rape shield laws are supposed to bury?

      And if you were a poor schumck immigrant maid who found out your rapist was a rich bastard, wouldn’t you see dollar signs?

      This whole 180 by Vance remains baffling to me. There’s been nothing I’ve seen in the press that indicates that the particulars of this event are faulty.

      1. He may still think she was raped–she may have been–but he (1) doesn’t think he can get a conviction and (2) doesn’t want to face the political fallout if he can’t convict.

        1. ^This. It’s a shame if she really was raped, but if you lie a lot (including to the police investigating the incident), you can’t be too shocked when people have a hard time believing you.

          1. She tried to maintain the story that he had used to get her asylum visa. Isn’t that so impossible to understand?

            1. er She had used … and IS that so have to understand?

      2. Rape shield laws are supposed to prevent interrogating the victim about her sex life. They don’t prevent impeaching her credibility.

        So, yeah, the defense would have been able to attack her credibility. And it doesn’t take much in the way of impeachment to raise reasonable doubt in a juror’s mind.

        Lots we don’t know about this case, still. I haven’t heard whether DSK’s flight back to No-Extradition-Land had been booked well in advance, or if he bolted for the first flight after the incident.

    2. Lying on asylum application is different than lying in an extortion scheme.

      First of all, it’s an *asylum* application: yoy have to prove horrible things happened to you, and will happen to you, unless they let you in.
      Secondly, it’s probably the only type of visa she could qualify for.

      And thirdly, it’s a victimless crime. You harm nobody by lying on asylum application. It’s bullshit red tape that a bunch of xenophobic assholes invented.

      1. You harm legitimate asylum applicants – making the next person’s story less likely to be believed, even if it’s true. Or if there’s a quota, and you get in under the quota, a legitimate claimant is out of luck.


    Apparently the head of the BATF testified in secret to Congress with his own lawyer present on July 5th. Looks like he is not taking the fall for Holder and Obama on the Gun Runner scandal.

    1. Yeah, but wasn’t this the same guy who was getting regular updates and even watched a live feed of a drop?

      He won’t be able to kick the ball upstairs so easily. But it’s good to see that he’s not shirking responsibility.

      1. I think the idea was he was supposed to take the fall so Holder or anyone at the FBI or White House didn’t have to. Apparently he is not going so quietly into that good night.

        1. Why would he? I’ve never had a boss, anywhere, where I would take the fall for them for something illegal. If I’m going, I’m dragging everybody involved down with me.

          1. He stands a good chance of becoming the next Ron Brown if he keeps this up.

  11. We may not be able to get Nafissatou Diallo prosecuted for making the false rape charge. But please, at least stop keeping her name unspoken!

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