New Details on Sex Charge Against Head of IMF

The Wall St. Journal has new details on the sex assault charge against IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

First, he's being represented by Ben Brafman (great choice.) Next, the maid accusing him identified him through a photo identification known as a "show up."

The accuser informed hotel security officials, who showed her a photo of the suite's occupant. After she identified Mr. Strauss-Kahn as her attacker, hotel officials then called police.


Even though identification of Strauss-Kahn is not likely to be a big issue, it's worth pointing out that show-ups are inherently unreliable. They can also taint future in-court identifications. The question becomes, is the witness' in court identification based on her memory of the perpetrator at the time, or the photo shown to her at the show-up.

DNA evidence was recovered from the hotel room. Today police sought a search warrant for Strauss-Kahn's person, seeking evidence of scratches and DNA.

He doesn't have diplomatic immunity because he was in New York on private business.

This sounds like a he said/she said case. He was staying in a $3,000 a night suite. If there's no DNA or scratches, the defense may be there was no sex, just an unsuccessful extortion attempt. If there is DNA, he may say she propositioned him, he accepted, and then she was unhappy with the amount of money he offered her afterwards. If there are scratches and DNA, then what? Rough sex defense?

At least he should be able to afford bond. I wonder if the court will allow him to go back home?

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    From NYT: (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by oculus on Sun May 15, 2011 at 10:53:55 PM EST
    A guest at the hotel, Mortem Meier, 36, a sales director visiting from Norway, said the livery driver who drove Mr. Strauss-Kahn to Kennedy Airport was also his driver on Saturday night.

    "He said Strauss-Kahn was in a huge hurry," Mr. Meier recalled. "He wanted to leave as soon as possible. He looked upset and stressed, the driver said."

    Also, based on NYT article, hoping (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Mon May 16, 2011 at 12:02:42 AM EST
    the hotel maid's immigration status is not an issue due to her reporting.  

    I can keep an open mind (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon May 16, 2011 at 08:08:25 AM EST
    but the set-up allegation doesn't ring true to me.

    I doubt he should get bail (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:55:33 PM EST
    His first move after the maid got away was to head for the airport, leaving his stuff behind. He gets bail, he's going to have a duplicate passport and plane ticket (more likely a private jet) in his hands before he gets to the Brooklyn Bridge.  It needs be remembered, there was an ugly case in NYS a few years back where a guy from the former Yugoslavia (I forget which country) at one of the SUNY campuses on a basketball scholarship beat a fellow student into a coma (leaving him with wicked brain damage when he finally came to).  The thug was busted (he stood out in a crowd) and was compelled to turn over his passport as a condition of his bail.  So, his mother went to her connections in the old country and got him a new one and he got out of the country before anyone was the wiser - it came to light when he missed a court date.  He gets back to Europe and they refuse to extradite him.  Years later (including the intervention of NY federal pols) and he finally gets tried in a Euro court for his crimes and gets a joke of a sentence.

    The IMF head, well, he was leading Sarkozy in polls relative to the coming election for the French presidency.  Does anyone think that he wouldn't be able to avoid any prosecution if he gets out of NY, and that he wouldn't be out of NY in a heartbeat.

    That, and he's got a very bad reputation for going after women not his wife.

    And as to the identification issue, well, the news reports indicate the maid was compelled to get a very close look at the defendant's parts.  Between the defendant leaving his stuff in the room (it was a $3k/night suite) and the context of the crime, I don't think identification will be that much of an issue.

    FWIW (2.00 / 1) (#11)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 16, 2011 at 08:12:37 AM EST
    It strikes me as unlikely that a guy who hopes to be president of one of the U.S.'s most important allies is going to flat-out flee to avoid prosecution.  Can you imagine the fun of the U.S. trying to extradite the head of an allied government?

    The French public is entirely tolerant of sexual peccadilloes, but the accusation that a rich and powerful guy tried to force himself on a hotel maid and then skip out of the country to avoid prosecution I think is beyond even their tolerance.

    Seems to me he's either got to stick to his guns (so to speak) and tough this out or give up any idea of being president of France.  My guess is he'll stick, unless it gets to the point where it looks like he's likely to lose.


    If, 20 years ago (none / 0) (#13)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon May 16, 2011 at 08:18:21 AM EST
    you told me that a sitting President would be doing the things that Clinton did with we all know who in the Oval Office, I would've told you that you picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    Er, I was not speculating (none / 0) (#31)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 16, 2011 at 04:25:15 PM EST
    on his guilt or innocence, only on whether he would be likely to skip the country if he was let out on bail now that he's been charged.

    It was Serbia IIRC (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Sun May 15, 2011 at 10:10:04 PM EST
    No love lost there.

    CNN reported someone from (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sun May 15, 2011 at 09:15:59 PM EST
    the hotel staff stating it looked like the alleged perp left the hotel room in a hurry and left his cell phone behind.

    28 minute timeline?? (none / 0) (#4)
    by ding7777 on Sun May 15, 2011 at 10:20:43 PM EST
    Maid enters rooms around 12:00 p.m. and Strauss-Kahn checks out at 12:28 p.m

    Even if he did a self check-out from his room, is 28 minutes enough time to assault the victim, chase the victim, re-assault the victim, get dressed, and check out?

    Leaving in a hurry and leaving (none / 0) (#6)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun May 15, 2011 at 11:44:30 PM EST
    stuff behind could be used as consciousness of guilt.

    Some in France are saying (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 16, 2011 at 12:33:28 AM EST
    it may be a political set-up. Keep an open mind.

    A set-up isn't (none / 0) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 16, 2011 at 08:17:49 AM EST
    entirely, 100 percent inconceivable.  Stranger things have happened.  But given the timeline and the maid's immediate report, the maid would have had to have been recruited ahead of time.  It's not like somebody coming out of the woodwork years later-- although apparently, that's starting to happen in France now, too.

    Piège or complot (none / 0) (#15)
    by HenryFTP on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:41:28 AM EST
    It's not "some in France are saying" -- it's lots of folks, on the record:

    DSK: la thèse du complot se répand sur le Web

    The reasons for their suspicions have much more to do with their views of Nicolas Sarkozy's relative desperation in his re-election campaign than it does with a reflexive defense of a prominent French politician. The fact that a blogger connected to Sarkozy's party tweeted the story Saturday evening 19 minutes after Strauss-Kahn was taken off the Air France flight at Kennedy and two hours before it broke in the New York media is, at the very least, "interesting".


    I think this was an interesting (none / 0) (#28)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon May 16, 2011 at 03:58:05 PM EST
    POV from one of the French commentators, via Google Translate:

    This man(Dominique Strauss-Kahn)(ed) knows well the United States of America, their Puritanism.

    More (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:40:35 AM EST
    According to a source, she picked him out of a lineup at the police station and she was treated for minor injuries at a hospital.

    Also in her favor was that she ran immediately and reported it to the front desk, who called the police, which is why they were able to hold his plane.

    And his "home" is in DC, so he should be able to go there.

    More immediately, is the effect this will have on the world markets - they wait for no court to determine guilt or not.

    the line-up was after the show-up (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 16, 2011 at 12:14:28 PM EST
    In a usual case (where the person accused isn't instantly recognizable or an international celebrity), memory experts would testify that the lineup identification was tainted by the earlier show-up. The accused may have identified the person in the line-up from her earlier viewing of the suspect's photo rather than her independent recollection of the event.

    The Wall St Journal reported (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 16, 2011 at 03:40:21 PM EST
    here, as I wrote in the earlier thread:

    The accuser informed hotel security officials, who showed her a photo of the suite's occupant. After she identified Mr. Strauss-Kahn as her attacker, hotel officials then called police, the official said. The alleged victim was taken to a hospital where she was treated for trauma, tested for sexual assault and later released, the official said.

    Maybe they were required to keep a copy of his passport photo page.


    or just Google n/t (none / 0) (#29)
    by NYShooter on Mon May 16, 2011 at 04:20:05 PM EST
    her prompt outcry (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 16, 2011 at 12:15:26 PM EST
    means little if it was a set-up.

    It being a setup seems far-fetched (none / 0) (#32)
    by richj25 on Tue May 17, 2011 at 10:01:19 PM EST
    Very little evidence has been published. The police
    say that her injuries were consistent with her story
    but, you know, what else are they going to say? From
    what I've heard so far, though, I really don't
    believe this was a setup.

    Still, something needs to be said about this. We
    have a young minority woman, a recent immigrant,
    with little education and working a menial job
    accusing a very important man, a very wealthy and
    powerful man. In most of the world, for most of
    human history, she would have been told to shut up
    or just simply disappeared but not in America. We
    truly live in a great country.


    that was in the first reports (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 18, 2011 at 02:00:03 AM EST
    What taxpayer? (none / 0) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 16, 2011 at 11:14:30 AM EST
    He was on some sort of private business, which is why there isn't even a debate about diplomatic immunity.

    I deleted that comment for (none / 0) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 18, 2011 at 02:01:19 AM EST
    posting false information. There are no taxpayer funds involved in his hotel room.

    Jbinc, please don't reprint (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Mon May 16, 2011 at 12:25:45 PM EST
    untested allegations of guilt here. And on criminal threads, keep in mind you are limited to four comments a day since you just chatter guilt.