Dominique Strauss-Kahn Moves to Luxury Townhouse, New Prosecutors Brought In

Former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has found a place to live pending trial, and moved in tonight. It's a luxury townhouse in Tribeca that was on the market for $14 million and costs $50k a month to rent.

The DA's office has beefed up the prosecution team, replacing the current prosecutor with two senior prosecutors. [More...]

Here's the latest rumor on Strauss-Kahn's planned defense. Note it is completely unsourced. An opposition leak? Le Monde reports Sarkozy allies tried to get them to publish damaging stories about DSK's womanizing three times in recent months. It refused.

I don't think the defense will choose a final strategy until its investigation is complete. The DNA may establish contact between the two, but it may shed no light on whether there was a forcible encounter. The defense will go where the evidence leads them, or with reasonable doubt the encounter was forcible. If there's no evidence of a set-up by an opposition group that co-opted the maid, and nothing in her background to suggest she'd engage in sex for money on her own, I doubt the defense will raise that.

Remember William Kennedy Smith? It took the jury one hour to acquit him.

Smith testified that the sex was consensual. He said he "felt sorry" for his accuser and acknowledged it was "foolish and irresponsible" for him to have unprotected sex with a woman he barely knew, but said she was equally foolish. Jurors took about an hour to acquit him.

As his attorney, Roy Black said yesterday:

"That's always the classic claim, that you're blaming the victim, but that's said by people who don't understand," Smith's lawyer, Roy Black, said in an interview Tuesday. "The victim may not be on trial, but her testimony, her accusation, is on trial."

One thing Dominique Strauss-Kahn needs to do is let his lawyers take the rein. When Michael Jackson and his team tried to take control of the strategy in his child molestation case, Mark Geragos and Ben Brafman withdrew. While Jackson was later acquitted -- Tom Mesereau tried the case -- there's still a misperception that when a prominent lawyer withdraws from a high profile case, it has something to do with the weakness of the defense case.

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    I shouldn't think publicity about defendant's (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed May 25, 2011 at 11:03:27 PM EST
    move to such luxurious digs would be helpful to his defense.  

    I was thinking the same (none / 0) (#2)
    by nycstray on Thu May 26, 2011 at 12:42:06 AM EST
    perhaps he should have gone more low profile on the new digs. The monthly rent is more or as much as many make in a year . . . People understand Manhattan rents are higher than norm, but this is a tad over the top.

    To be fair (none / 0) (#3)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu May 26, 2011 at 01:44:06 AM EST
    the places he could go that would accept his being there and that provide enough security that he can be monitored is probably pretty limited, and almost entirely pricey places. Lucky him that he can afford that and the bail.

    Also, geez (none / 0) (#4)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu May 26, 2011 at 01:45:19 AM EST
    I sure hope no juror who's heard he's being confined in luxury quarters would seriously consider that as somehow a point in favor of his guilt.

    not so much a point in favor of guilt (none / 0) (#5)
    by nycstray on Thu May 26, 2011 at 02:07:13 AM EST
    but might color judgment of the man and situation in general. Which would not make things easier for him.

    I really can't believe he couldn't find a lower key place. The most expensive place in Tribeca is all he could find?


    Comparing Kennedy case to this one is a stretch (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by honora on Thu May 26, 2011 at 07:30:36 AM EST
    IIRC in the Kennedy case they met at a bar (party?) and went for a walk on a beach.  In such a situation the accuser's acts make the claim more susceptible to a he said/ she said defense.  Assuming that the defense does not come up with a huge addition to the accuser's bank account, or phone calls to Sarkozy's office in Paris, attacking the accuser may not work.  The woman is a poor, immigrant with limited command of English.  I would think that this job was her 'dream job' and the notion that Strauss-Kahn's nakedness so took her breathe away that she could not control herself, is a stretch.  

    Another scummy move (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:05:40 AM EST
    If this sort of move would have resounded well in France in such a situation, Strauss-Kahn should consider that he is in the U.S. When it comes to hiring ex CIA agents to attempt to intimidate the accuser he shouldn't parade that around either because that doesn't reflect well on him in this country either.

    The DSK affair (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:13:17 AM EST
    May just have changed how the French view harassment.

    On Wednesday, two French women filed sexual harassment complaints against civil service minister Georges Tron citing the courage to come forward of the Guinean hotel he is alleged to have attacked. "When I saw that a chambermaid was capable of taking on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I told myself I didn't have the right to keep quiet," said one of the women filing a complaint which will open an official investigation of Tron on rape and sexual assault. "Other women may be suffering what I suffered. I have to help them," said the alleged victim who remains unnamed. "We have to break this code of silence."

    I would think, from a defense (none / 0) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:24:00 AM EST
    perspective, that the obvious and known, would be acknowledged and stressed: M. Strauss-Kahn is a recognized (and recognizable) IMF official, was a prime contender for president of France, a married man with support from his wife and family, and man of great wealth.

    How could such a man do what he is accused--a violent crime of sexual assault.  Certainly, the defense might continue, that should he have need for "company"  (not that he would) he could afford an escort service.  And, indeed, his past indiscretion, for which he regrets and was a consensual affair.   Now, of course, it depends on the evidence and, clearly, based on reports, the defense has its work cut out for it  (a sidebar:  I think he/wife are overpaying in rent, and the townhouse is overpriced, but then those numbers are abstract for me--now the real estate of the late copper heiress, Madam Clark, is something else, as was she)

    If (none / 0) (#10)
    by lentinel on Thu May 26, 2011 at 12:57:27 PM EST
    DNA evidence is obtain which links the two, in my opinion DSK is toast. And he should be.

    They have DNA evidence (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Thu May 26, 2011 at 12:58:49 PM EST
    On her shirt

    And the police say (none / 0) (#12)
    by Natal on Thu May 26, 2011 at 01:38:41 PM EST
    they are examining blood found on a sheet.

    There are simple answers (none / 0) (#14)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 26, 2011 at 03:42:31 PM EST
    to all this "evidence."

    DNA?.....consensual sex
    blood?....slipped during consensual, rough sex

    The defenses approach seems to be: let the prosecution float all their evidence out front, then concoct reasonable, easy to agree with responses.

    I think the key will be if they can find something, anything, in the maid's history that they can twist and turn to impugn her character.

    The prosecution shouldn't be overly confident in all this "evidence," they should be working on powerfully rebutting the smear campaign that's sure to come.