New Details in Dominique Strauss Kahn Case: A Set-Up?

Update: Sofitel responds, via The Daily Beast. It says the video celebration lasted only 8 seconds and might have been about sports. It says the guest in 2820 checked out at 11:36 am and Diallo cleaned the room shortly thereafter.

Investigative journalist Edward Epstein provides new details in the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the Sofitel hotel maid in the New York Review of Books. Epstein says he had access to the hotel's electronic key swipe records and time-stamped hotel security camera videotapes. He also reviewed cell phone records for a phone used on May 14 by Accor security employee John Sheehan. Accor owns the Sofitel.

The Guardian details Epstein's findings if you don't want to take the time to read his entire report.


It turns out, according to Epstein, there was a guest still in suite 2820, the one that Nafissitou Diallo went in and out of several times that morning. Who was it? Unknown. The hotel refused to say, and prosecutors say they didn't have it declared a crime scene and examined because Diallo had lied initially and denied re-entering it. Then there's the videotape Epstein viewed and describes:

At 12:51 pm, hotel engineer Brian Yearwood goes up to the DSK suite. At 12:52 pm, Diallo and an unidentified man enter the service area of the 1st floor, outside the hotel security office. Yearwood comes down from the suite and joins her at 12:56. She is then questioned by Adrian Branch, with Yearwood nearby. At 1:31 pm, Branch calls the police.

Less then two minutes after the call to the police, the video shows Yearwood, and the unidentified man who had accompanied Diallo to the security area, outside the area in which Diallo is recounting her story to Branch:

“The two men high-five each other, clap their hands and do what looks like an extraordinary dance of celebration that lasts for three minutes,”

The video then shows the two men standing by the service door "apparently waiting for the police to arrive."

And the missing Blackberry that DSK had called the hotel about on his way to the airport: Although it has never been found, its GPS circuitry and ability to make calls or send messages was disabled at 12:51 pm, less than an hour after the hotel encounter. DSK had received a text message earlier that day warning him that it might have been hacked as an e-mail he had sent to his wife that morning turned up at Sarkosy's party headquarters. DSK had called his wife and asked her to ask a friend to arrange to have the Blackberry and his iPad checked for signs of hacking.

All very odd, to say the least. Especially the part about room 2820 still being occupied. Diallo repeatedly said she had already cleaned that room, but isn't that unlikely if the guest was still in it? Was her earlier visit to to with the occupant rather than clean it? On the other hand, wouldn't we have heard by now that the room was still dirty at 12:26, when she entered it after leaving DSK's room, the final entry she forgot to tell police about until confronted with the key card entry data?

As DSK acknowledged a hurried sexual encounter with Diallo, but Diallo was only in the room for 6 to 7 minutes, Epstein's report does raise the question of whether Diallo was recruited by whoever was in 2820 to initiate the encounter.

Why did the police and prosecutors not have this video? It's obvious the defense hadn't seen it and if the prosecution had it, they would have had to turn it over.

I hope Epstein releases the videotape and gets access to the records showing who was in 2820 and what time they checked out.

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  • Display: Sort:
    At best, (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 12:21:47 AM EST
    At best (for DSK) the story would be that a weak man was enticed into foolish behavior using his known vices.  This assessment is made using the events of NY and those that have now come to notice in France.

    At worst, a poor immigrant working woman was assaulted by an international predator, and all the rest is just the usual stores from people looking for a conspiracy.

    There's hardly a dichotomy of choices (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by observed on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 12:42:58 AM EST
    A common sense alternative theory is that Diallo performed sex on DSK expecting to be paid; when that didn't happen, she reported an assault.

    Also, Diallo has lied about so many things I don't know why anyone gives her the benefit of the doubt.


    I beg your pardon. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 03:01:26 AM EST
    You say:

    "A common sense alternative theory is that Diallo performed sex on DSK expecting to be paid; when that didn't happen, she reported an assault."

    That statement could fit into either of the two choices I gave.

    As for lying, I think both the characters in this sordid event lied.  


    If it was a setup, she would have (none / 0) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 11:30:22 AM EST
    reported an assault even if she had been paid because all she really needed from him was the DNA.

    People go gaga for DNA samples.  Even here the conversation turned on its presence on her clothing as if its presence alone proved DSK guilty of assault vs what it really proved, DSK guilty of ejaculation.


    It's the media (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by loveed on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 08:54:28 AM EST
     They ran with this story, with no facts. This story stunk from the beginning.
     His career ruined. The country embrassed.All to sell newspapers.
     If your wondering what is distroying our country, its the media.

    For all the media's faults and failings, (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 11:35:55 AM EST
    it is hardly "the media" that has brought and is bringing this country down to its present sorry state, as compared, say, with the selfishness, intellectual dishonesty, and shortsightedness of "the 1%" and their henchmen in the two major political parties.

    I'm glad you posted that... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 11:56:10 AM EST
    ... because I was about to blame the grammar teachers.

    Well, your certainly entitled (none / 0) (#8)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 12:53:13 PM EST
    to you're opinion, too, as in days of yore!

    No, it's the (none / 0) (#12)
    by Zorba on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 02:37:50 PM EST
    Illuminati and the Masons.  Plus the the UN and their secret black helicopters.  It's the New World Order, I tell you!  All run by the extraterrestrials that have secretly been living among us for centuries.      ;-)

    Please stay on topic (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 02:51:33 PM EST
    English may not be the first language of some of our commenters. And the topic is DSK.

    From the beginning I thought it was a set-up (none / 0) (#10)
    by peon on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 02:21:19 PM EST
    As a domestic violence,sexual assault counselor for 15 years I follow these kinds of cases. The DSK case was unique for the seriousness both the press and police took the accusations of the victim. When a victim is poor and powerless and the perp is wealthy and powerful the other powerful actors, cops, press, hotel owners, etc side with the perp. They all think the victim is lying, a gold digger, etc. This case violated all those rules from the beginning. All my co-workers said right away there was something fishy about the DSK case. A set-up was always the logical choice.

    For a "set up", it would (none / 0) (#14)
    by KeysDan on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 05:25:12 PM EST
    seem that the dirty tricksters would be banking on everything happening in accord with their best expectations within a a 6 or 7 minute period abutting DSK's showering, dressing and check-out.   We do know that the maid proved not to be credible in the telling of the incident and in her history. A sexual encounter has not been disputed by DKS, but he claimed consensual, she,  charged assault.

    And, the French-owned Sofitel Hotel personnel realized just how hot a potato it all was--an alleged crime by the Director of the IMF and a probable candidate for the presidency of France.  And, the possible inclination to hush and cover-up in the service of reputation. This might explain some of the hotel management and security mis-steps and delays as well as calls to supervisors, including the call to Paris

    However, the new details introduce interesting matters that deserve follow-up, such as the matter of Room 2820 and the guest's possible presence; Yearwood, the hotel engineer, entering DSK's suite a 12:5l pm, and the disabling of DSK's still missing Blackberry at 12:51 pm: the entrance to DSK's suite by room service to pick-up dishes one minute before the entry of the maid (different electronic entry cards)--as a large suite it is possible that the dishes were near the dining area, and was that worker still in the room.   The disputed  time for the jubilation of the security personnel could be verified (3 minutes v 8 seconds) although the reason for such frolicking in the midst of such a serious matter as "maybe sports" doesn't fit the circumstances and is, at best,  curious.  

    No matter what the outcome of these latest details, it is only confirmatory to those of us who always felt that the investigation and arrest were unnecessarily rushed--and it, unfortunately for justice, showed.  

    The Rush was necessary. (none / 0) (#15)
    by JeriKoll on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:58:51 PM EST
    They had to catch DSK before flew off.

    That was a reason given, (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 08:38:06 AM EST
    but it was not necessary.  

    oops (none / 0) (#16)
    by JeriKoll on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 08:01:57 PM EST

    They had to catch DSK before his plane flew off.

    Also about the celebration.
    When people are waiting around, the conversation can go to a lot of things.

    Like you say "sports."  Or maybe one of the guys was lucky in some manner that guys are lucky in.

    You can't predict men.