Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Lawyers Response to Accuser's Interviews
Excellent statement by William Taylor and Ben Brafman in response to the outrageous interviews the accuser's lawyer in the Dominque Strauss-Kahn case has drummed up for her. (The Newsweek interview took place over three hours in her lawyer's office.)
Ms. Diallo is the first accuser in history to conduct a media campaign to persuade a prosecutor to pursue charges against a person from whom she wants money. Her lawyers and public relations consultants have orchestrated an unprecedented number of media events and rallies to bring pressure on the prosecutors in this case after she had to admit her extraordinary efforts to mislead them. Her lawyers know that her claim for money suffers a fatal blow when the criminal charges are dismissed, as they must be.
This conduct by lawyers is unprofessional and it violates fundamental rules of professional conduct for lawyers. Its obvious purpose is to inflame public opinion against a defendant in a pending criminal case. The fact is, however, that the number of rallies, press conferences, and media events they have orchestrated is exceeded only by the number of lies and misstatements she has made to law enforcement, friends, medical professionals and reporters. It is time for this unseemly circus to stop.
As I said in the earlier post, a motion to restrict the accuser and her lawyers' extra-judicial comments is needed immediately. And the District Attorney should seriously consider dropping the charges altogether after this blatant attempt to poison the potential jury pool. [More..]
The only excuse I can fathom for this kind of behavior is if the accuser's lawyer knows something we don't know: that DA Vance has already decided to drop the charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Otherwise, this interview violates every ethical rule in the book. As the Supreme Court said in Shephard v. Maxwell:
Collaboration between counsel and the press as to information affecting the fairness of a criminal trial is not only subject to regulation, but is highly censurable and worthy of disciplinary measures.
....Few, if any, interests under the Constitution are more fundamental than the right to a fair trial by ‘impartial’ jurors, and an outcome affected by extrajudicial statements would violate that fundamental right. Even if a fair trial can ultimately be ensured through voir dire, change of venue, or some other device, these measures entail serious costs to the system.
If Vance doesn't join in a defense motion to prevent this accuser from publicly claiming DSK is guilty and publicizing her version of the details of the encounter, I hope the judge steps in on his own. “As the Supreme Court has said, legal trials are not like elections, to be won through the use of the meeting-hall, the radio, and the newspaper.” (Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252, 271)(1941).
Her lawyer is far afield if he thinks his client's statements are covered by the safe harbor provision of the ethics rules due to adverse publicity about her veracity and character. Her response must be limited to what is necessary to rebut those attacks, and telling her version of what happened in the hotel room and saying DSK should go to jail is far beyond that.
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