Strauss-Kahn on Suicide Watch at Rikers, Hearing Friday

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is on a suicide watch at Rikers Island.

The official said the action, which will put him under closer supervision, was taken as a result of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s intake evaluation, which was based on the nature of the charges, whether he had ever been in jail before and other factors, rather than on any gesture or attempt.

He has court again on Friday. Will his lawyers make a new bail proposal with more restrictive conditions, for either the judge presiding over Friday's hearing or a higher court? I would think so. He could live in an apartment in New York, with private guards as bail sitters, like Bernie Madoff, Mark Dreier and Cameron Douglas. Or, instead of a regular ankle bracelet, they could make him submit to GPS monitoring. Aside from its greater tracking abilities, no way could someone get through airport security without it going off.

I don't think Strauss-Kahn's lawyer has said the defense would assert consensual sex as a defense. He hasn't admitted any sexual act took place. The news media is intuiting this from his statement in court, "The evidence, we believe, will not be consistent with a forcible encounter". (He didn't say "forcible sexual encounter." ) [More...]

The woman's lawyer says the sex couldn't have been consensual and points out she didn't know Mr. Strauss-Kahn's identity. He was staying in a $3,000 a night room at the Sofitel -- she had reason to believe he was wealthy. If Strauss-Khan does say he offered her money for sex and she accepted, and then something went awry, I don't think whether she knew he was the head of IMF matters much. The suite speaks for itself.

It seems a little odd that a man just getting out of the shower and about to check out of a hotel and meet someone for lunch, before flying off to Europe, would spontaneously decide to rape the hotel maid. Did he even call for a late checkout?

If he does end up saying the encounter was consensual, will he say he pulled money out of his wallet to give her and mistakenly assumed she knew it was for sex when she thought it was for cleaning the room? Did they even speak the same language?

The facts do look bad for Strauss-Kahn now, but as Jeffrey Toobin said today, so did the facts against the Duke Lacrosse players a few years ago, and look how that turned out.

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    of the timestamp information provided by her key card. I would be very surprised if that info did not jibe with her story.

    After breaking free she (none / 0) (#3)
    by Natal on Tue May 17, 2011 at 10:27:46 PM EST
    evidently went directly to security to report what happened.  That must carry some weight in her favor.

    unless it was a setup (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 18, 2011 at 01:32:31 AM EST
    which some in France are claiming.

    That's the great thing about being a rape victim (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by BDB on Wed May 18, 2011 at 06:16:34 AM EST
    wait to tell people and you're lying, tell someone immediately and it's a shakedown and you're lying.  The other great thing is that for rich men their victims can never be believed because they could always just be out for money.  

    Obviously DSK is presumed innocent, but I think the same standard should be used for his alleged victim.  It's a crime to falsely accuse someone and I think she should be presumed innocent of that crime as well.  


    In the end, it's got to be shakedown. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Mitch Guthman on Wed May 18, 2011 at 05:07:46 AM EST
    I've been thinking about this case a lot since Saturday and I've finally come to the conclusion that the only defense left to DSK is that he was set up for a shakedown by the hotel maid.  You can dance around with the timeline or question what she was doing until 1:30 but, in the end, the attack either took place or it didn't.  She is either telling the truth or she is outright lying.  I don't see how she could be "mistaken" about anything. There's just no way that I can see to advance a reasonable doubt or consent defense unless you can also give the victim a motive for lying. (Unless I'm missing something that real defense lawyers  with more experience and who know what they are doing can see?)

    This just isn't your basic "he said, she said" where you can argue some kind of miscommunication or situational ambiguity or misidentification.  She says there was no communication at all and he just simply ran out of the bathroom of his suite, totally naked, locked the door and jumped on her.  I personally agree with Jeralyn that his impulsively deciding to rape the next hotel worker to come into his suite as a way of passing the time before lunch is not something I personally find very satisfying.  But her story leaves no room for any sort of ambiguity about consent and, as things stand, it's either completely true or she's an outright liar. It's all or nothing.  But she's got no motive to lie, she seems to be a genuinely good person and by coming forward all she's done is to bring a lot of grief on herself.  Her story may be kind of weird but, in the end, if it's just "reasonable doubt" and a test of credibility, he's toast.

    So, if DSK is going to trial then the only thing left is some kind of set up or shakedown.  Fortunately for DSK, his lawyer might be able to argue that without getting disbarred. It looks like the victim has hired a civil lawyer, who maybe plans on filing a lawsuit and so if DSK is convicted, she gets rich on the settlement.  Maybe that's enough to imply that she planned the whole thing which gives her a motive to lie and actually would allow the defense to account for pretty much all the evidence against DSK (even the physical evidence, if it turns out to exist) and it also might explain why the victim changed her mind about when the attack occurred. I don't personally find this very satisfying either, but any port in a storm, I guess.

    That could be where the defense ends up going.  Seems weak but it's way better than the tinfoil hat gibberish about Sarko's secret agents I've been reading in the French press.  Or maybe he just throws in the towel and takes a plea.  Very strange case.


    I read that she ran out (none / 0) (#17)
    by Madeline on Wed May 18, 2011 at 09:51:37 AM EST
    of the room and then told another employee what happened to her. The hotel immediately called the police (good for them).  They really got him quickly. Whatever the time line, she seems to have enough witnesses to her reaction.

    It was a quick thinking hotel employee (none / 0) (#18)
    by jbindc on Wed May 18, 2011 at 09:57:01 AM EST
    Who was able to help police find them.  When he called about his phone, the employee was able to ask where he was to either call him back or have the phone sent (I can't remember which one).  DSK told him he was at the airport, and the employee turned over the info to the cops.

    If true, it's another problem for the timeline. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Mitch Guthman on Wed May 18, 2011 at 02:02:31 PM EST
    That all makes sense under the original timeline which, if I understand it correctly, put the time of the sexual assault at roughly 1 o'clock and has the NYPD being called at about 1:30. Under that timeline, yes, the assault was reported right away. (But I've seen different timelines given in different places)

    Turns out DSK was seen checking out at about 12:30 and claims to be solidly alibied for 1 o'clock.  So now the assault is supposed to have occurred at noon which raises the question of what happened between the time she left the suite and 1:30, when the police were called.

    Of course, there is also the question of why and how come the timeline is off an hour from the original report.  


    I am considering (none / 0) (#29)
    by Madeline on Thu May 19, 2011 at 03:50:03 PM EST
    how long it takes to run out of a room, get to a person of authority, hear the complete narrative, call corporate and hotel security and listen to and comfort a woman who just ran of a room where she states she was assaulted.

    So....  run out of the room hysterical and scared; try to get to a place of safety; find another employee; get to the office 30 floors down; try to pull it together and give some of the details calmly, all with the taste of semen in the mouth; let the boss make some calls, including the police.

     A high percentage of woman assaulted do not report it at all. It is frequently unbelievable even to them...shock/trauma. She may have even not wanted to report it initially. Over 50% don't.

    I think it would take some time.

    (all allegedly)


    She may not have gone to security right away. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Mitch Guthman on Wed May 18, 2011 at 04:17:23 AM EST
    According to Le Monde, the original timeline had the assault at about 1 o'clock to maybe 1:15 p.m. and the police were notified at about 1:30.  So that suggests she did notify security right away.   But at some point the NYPD apparently learned that DSK had checked out  at 12:30 (leaving his key card at the desk) and also had a bulletproof alibi for 1 o'clock.  So, long story short, the timeline is revised so that the assault takes place at noon but they can't change the time of the call to the police so the timeline is even weirder because there is now this gap between the time when she's supposed to have escaped from his room and the time when the police are called.

    I can't really make sense out of the timeline and that seems to be a real vulnerability, although it seems to me that if DSK can't offer a plausible reason for the hotel maid to lie then all doubts about the timeline or anything else are going to get resolved in the prosecution's favor.


    She speaks French and English. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Green26 on Tue May 17, 2011 at 11:32:06 PM EST
    While this doesn't undercut the above point, the $3,000 room was discounted to $800.

    Yes, it would seem odd that he would do this when he was apparently on the verge of checking out of the hotel to meet someone for lunch.

    I still think the guy is bad news, has had a bad history, and probably had no respect for an African room maid.

    I wonder if he might have had dinner with his daughter the night before, and then called her after this happened to have lunch again and set up an alibi. Probably not, but I'd still be curious as to when he set up the lunch appt.

    Early reports said the maid had been told to come clean the room. I haven't seen those references in later reports. If true, who called for a maid.

    It also makes no sense that a woman in her position (immigrant, daughter, 3 years on the job, no other source of income) would jeopardize her job for this.

    She's a "devout" muslem, (none / 0) (#6)
    by Green26 on Tue May 17, 2011 at 11:44:45 PM EST
    shy, doesn't talk much, soft-spoken, tall, wears a scarf on her head, has a 15 year old daughter, and lives in the Bronx, according to press reports.

    Key card of maid and guest (none / 0) (#7)
    by Green26 on Wed May 18, 2011 at 12:24:49 AM EST
    will likely tell the electronic story of when the door was opened, shut, and left open--and who (or which card) opened it. According to NY Times article. Interesting.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#15)
    by scribe on Wed May 18, 2011 at 09:17:35 AM EST
    The police already know, to the second, when the hotel room door opened and closed.

    And doubtless there's also video from the hallway.  Most hotels installed video years ago so they don't get snagged on bogus insurance claims.  I remember representing a casino hotel about 15 yr ago defending a counterclaim (by a guy being sued for welshing on his marker) alleging the guest was mugged in their hotel (and therefore didn't have to pay his marker).  The video showed him with a pair of vinyl-clad, um, girlfriends laughing and smiling going into his room and all three laughing and smiling going out a while later.

    So, the video should tell.


    Yes, the NYT article referenced (none / 0) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 18, 2011 at 09:59:36 AM EST
    was interesting not only as related to the DSK case (records of door openings and closings and the discernment regisered between guest and employee keycards), but also, to general concerns of hotels for housekeeping staff, many of whom are women and immigrants, and especially vulnerable.

    Hoteliers have adopted a host of precautions and protections.  An example given, was if a male guest calls for service, a male attendant responds if feasible (male guest have been known to order adult movies and then call "for towels"). Also, housekeeping staff do not work behind closed doors, the door is propped open with the work cart.  Not mentioned in the article, but the swipe card entry/exit also can be used to track employee efficiency.


    Almost no hotel room in the universe (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Wed May 18, 2011 at 06:29:39 AM EST
    actually rents for the rate they post on the sign in the closet. That's just what they'll charge you if you refuse to check out on time (and they're tired of you for some reason).

    One could interpret the quote from one (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Tue May 17, 2011 at 11:33:30 PM EST
    of defendant's attorneys to mean there was no non-consensual sexual contact:

    "The evidence, we believe, will not be consistent with a forcible encounter".

    except he didn't use the word (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 18, 2011 at 01:39:42 AM EST
    sex. He could have meant no use of violence, which would be relevant at a bond hearing. It's unlikely he had the DNA results by then, or the findings of the hospital as to the rape kit. Why would he admit anything sexual happened before knowing they have evidence of sex. I think all he was saying was if there was an encounter, there was no force involved.

    In any event, the police will leak the results of the testing soon enough, they always do, and his lawyer will probably then disclose more of the planned defense.


    Stats have been misleading on this (none / 0) (#22)
    by Buckeye on Wed May 18, 2011 at 03:11:52 PM EST
    There are actually considerably more false accusations than people think.  It is not the ridiculous 2% that you hear feminists cite all the time.  It is more like 1 in 4 as stated by the Innocence Project, the Journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, and Forensic Science Digest.

    I deleted the comment you are replying (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 18, 2011 at 07:20:55 PM EST
    to for promoting false information. And because the commenter has been put in time out.

    Here we go agian (none / 0) (#25)
    by loveed on Wed May 18, 2011 at 05:45:59 PM EST
    why can't we wait for all the facts to come out?
     I have serious doubts about this case (timeline,he checked out at the desk,forciable oral sex without weapon,why tell them where you were,lunch with his daughter ect..). This case should be resolved quickly, for her sake and his.
     I think it unfair the way men are treated in rape aligations (there pictures splash all over t.v.,newspapers) and if  proven it was consentual, the men are still branded ( Bill clinton,koleby bryant,one of the kennedys, Duke university ect...). there reputation is never restored. The accuser face is never shown.
     There are alot of men in jail today from false rape charges. If your part of that 2%, I don't think it matters.

    O.K. My two cents (none / 0) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 19, 2011 at 01:16:50 PM EST
    Caveat: I have absolutely no clue, or opinion, but,

    Why would a rich, powerful, alpha-male type guy be put on suicide watch if he was being falsely accused? I would think he'd be spitting mad, pounding the walls, and screaming his innocense at the top of his lungs.

    Just saying.

    Captivity... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Thu May 19, 2011 at 01:40:47 PM EST
    can do funny things to your mind...an innocent mind especially.  4 strip searches a day is a mindf8ck too.

    I too have no clue or opinion...but I don't think suicide watch is an indicator either way.