Dominique Strauss-Kahn: The Mysterious Phone Call With Jailed Acquaintance
[Note: This is so long that it's likely to interest only those closely following the developing details of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case.]
One of the details not adding up in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, which I don't believe will be a case much longer, is the phone call the accuser had with her jailed friend (also described as her boyfriend or fiance) 28 hours after she reported her encounter at the Sofitel with DSK.
When the conversation was translated — a job completed only this Wednesday — investigators were alarmed: “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said.
....Suspicions of the woman’s associations arose relatively quickly: within a week of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, the authorities learned of a recorded conversation between the subject of a drug investigation and another man, who said his companion was the woman involved in the Strauss-Kahn matter, according to another law enforcement official.
Reportedly, he was arrested when attempting to obtain 400 pounds of marijuana in exchange for counterfeit designer goods from Chinatown somewhere in the Southwest. The Times reported: [More...]
The boyfriend in the Arizona detention center was another issue. He had been arrested while bartering counterfeit designer clothing from Manhattan’s Chinatown for marijuana in the Southwest, the well-placed law enforcement official said. Her lawyer said she did not know the man was “a drug dealer.”
According to media reports, he's being housed in an immigration jail in Arizona and since all jail calls are recorded, prosecutors last week obtained the recording. This is the call where, according to the New York Times, the accuser told her jailed friend not to worry about her and that DSK had a lot of money. Reportedly, it was in a dialect of Fula. In other words, this is the evidence the accuser may have had a financial motive for reporting an assault.
It's been 48 hours since this was revealed, and no reporter has yet, that I'm aware of, uncovered the name of the inmate or details of his arrest or pending criminal charges. I've searched and can't find it. Presumably, since the call was in Fula, the man is from Guinea or Senegal or somewhere in Africa.
John Solomon, who has been reporting on the case for The Daily Beast, writes today that it was only in the past few days that prosecutors thought to get the key card data for the other suites near the one DSK occupied. Previously, they had just gotten the data for the DSK suite.
The Daily Beast has learned that, until last week, investigators didn't seek electronic keycard evidence for rooms the alleged victim cleaned at the hotel the day of the alleged attack, other than Strauss-Kahn's. That omission has taken on new significance as the maid’s account changed.
...The prosecutors sought the additional hotel key records on Wednesday, informed defense lawyers about the victim's credibility problems on Thursday, then got the hotel security key logs for the other rooms the next day, one source said.
...The hotel key card records that prosecutors belatedly got from the Sofitel on Friday show the maid keyed room 2820, which she had cleaned hours earlier, at 12:26 p.m. and, during the same minute, also keyed room 2806 where Strauss-Kahn had stayed – which would support the assertion that her supervisor took her there, according to a source directly familiar with the evidence.
“She didn't have time to clean 2820 again. The key cards show her supervisor took her to Strauss-Kahn's room almost immediately. And it would not have made sense to clean 2820 again, she had done it earlier between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 .m., which would suggest she simply got confused,” the source said.
That Solomon's source said she may have been confused indicates to me this is a law enforcement source, not a defense source. (A defense source would not have tried to justify the accuser's actions as being one of confusion as opposed to deception.)
Solomon reports the accuser called the inmate, and raises the possibility that the reason the accuser re-entered the suite she had already cleaned after the encounter with DSK, was to make telephone calls.
But such changes in her account coupled with the evidence of lying about a prior rape and the hints of a financial motive revealed during the call to prison could give defense lawyers plenty to create reasonable doubt with jurors. Did she engage in consensual oral sex and then was coached to spit to ensure DNA evidence could be collected? Did she make a call to one or more conspirators during her multiple entries into room 2820? Was her original story simply rehearsed to garner sympathy with colleagues and investigators, only to unravel later when conflicting evidence emerged? Does the prison call suggest she habitually cashed in on VIP hotel client with lots of money? (my emphasis)
How would the accuser have called the inmate in a immigration detention facility? (Or any jail other than some local ones, for that matter. They don't exactly coming running to your cell when you get a call so you can take it.) The ICE facilities in Arizona all state this in their regulations:
Calling a Detainee
Detainees cannot receive incoming calls. If you need to get in touch with a detainee to leave an urgent message, you must call (520) ***** and leave the detainee’s full name, alien registration number and your name and telephone number where you can be reached. The detainee will be given your message.
But how would the inmate have called her 28 hours later, if she no longer had her phone? According to early media reports and interviews with her friend Blake Diallo, manager of the 2115 Cafe, Blake was the first person to be in touch with her, on May 14, hours after the incident. (It was Blake Diallo who found lawyer Jeffrey Shaprio, since departed from the case, on the Internet.)
Her phone call with the jailed drug suspect was on May 15. Blake has said investigators took her phone and gave her a new one. Her family has said even they couldn't reach her. (I'm not including links because the articles name her and so far mainstream media here has not.) Did she use the police phone to call the immigration jail and leave a message for the inmate to call her back? Where did she get the number? Did she ask the investigators to look it up? Were they not curious to do any follow-up? Or did they put in request for his subsequent calls to be monitored, which is how they found out about the call a week later? [Added: Solomon says the investigators found the call on phone records of one of the other phones in her name that they later found out about. Since she was in their protective custody at the time, she must have had the phone with her. But she denied to investigators she had any other phones and when asked about them, said her boyfriend must have put them in her name. )
Blake said he talked to her every day in the beginning and would bring toiletries and other essentials to the hotel where investigators were housing her in seclusion.
(Initially, Blake referred to himself as her brother, but when it was revealed he was from Senegal, not Guinea, he explained he used the word in a figurative sense, as he often does in describing friends in the U.S. who came from Africa. She also has a half-brother named Mamadou who lives in Indianapolis and has been interviewed several times.)
Today, the Paris Match says Blake Diallo of the 2115 Cafe hasn't talked to her in the past month, but during their last call, a month ago, she complained about the seclusion. English translation:
"The last time I got on the phone, it was a month ago, and it lasted half an hour. She called me. Cloistered in the house somewhere in New York, under police protection, she said she was suffocating. I advised her to pray to stay positive. Since I did not tell her speak again, but whatever happens, I keep my friendship. "
Blake Diallo has also said in the past that he was the one who advised her of the identity of DSK, having seen it on TV, and that she had no idea who he was. According to the DA's Disclosure of Evidence, detailed here, the lineup was on May 15 at 4:00 pm. When she spoke to the jailed friend, she knew (from Blake as well as having seen it herself on TV) that the man she accused was rich. Solomon also says that she had already retained a lawyer by the time she spoke to him.
According to the Times, the accuser told prosecutors and investigators upon being confronted with the bank records showing deposits of around $100,000. over two years into her bank account, that she had no knowledge of them and they were made by the incarcerated friend (who she said is her fiance). Did she never check her bank balance in 2 years? [Added: The money may have been deposited into other bank accounts in her name, which she denied knowing about.]
According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.
That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.
The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends. (my emphasis)
A French paper reports today the man is from Gambia and that he is the accuser's second husband, although they married only in a religious ceremony, not a civil ceremony. (I'm not linking because it reveals her name, which again, while all over the papers in France and Africa, has not been published by mainstream media here.) She met him when working at a Gambian restaurant located at 170th Street and Grand Concourse in the Bronx, which is where she worked before getting the job at Sofitel. They lived together before she got the Sofitel job up until his arrest, which according to her, was for immigration violations and working in the U.S. illegally.
Why has no one been able to identify the jailed boyfriend or his criminal case? When was he arrested? Where in the Southwest (he could have been arrested outside of Arizona but shipped to an immigration jail in Arizona.) Was he responsible for getting her the job at the Sofitel? Diaby, the owner of the Gambian restaurant that she worked at previously, has said she was a very good waitress and she quit suddenly, explaining she had gotten her asylum papers and this new job.
If her husband/fiance/provider was in jail and no longer able to contribute to the family income, she may have had a greater need for money, which would partially account for yesterday's uncorroborated report by the New York Post.
So long as there is a policy in U.S. media that the name of the accuser in a sex assault claim is shielded, even in a he-said/she-said case, it's hard to get at the truth about her history. Even though the French and African papers report details, Google translator isn't the best and these reports vary widely on her background.
DSK may have been a womanizer and he may have been accustomed to paying for sex when visiting other countries where he didn't have established female relationships. But it's quite a leap to equate such conduct with the claims of this accuser, that he came out of a shower naked and upon seeing her, jumped her, chased her around a hotel suite and forced her twice to have oral sex. Especially considering she's 5'11" or 6' tall to his overweight 5'7" or 5'8" and 30 years younger. I'm also not sure a male with any brains would force a female to engage in oral sex, given the risk of being bitten. While people have called DSK a risk-taker, no one has said he is stupid.
DSK stayed at this hotel six times in the past year. Was this the first time they met? Two other hotel employees reported he made overtures to them the same weekend. Photos of VIP guests were posted in the employee break room. Did the accuser know who he was and his reputation among employees and figure he'd be an easy mark, and then something went awry? (Perhaps he didn't expect to pay or want to pay enough?)
Unlike the media, which tends to view cases through guilt-colored lenses, I view cases through the lens of the defense. A bruise on a vagina and the presence of semen on clothing is not inconsistent with a consensual encounter. When the supervisor took the accuser back into the suite, she spit out repeatedly. Is that how and when semen was found on the carpet or walls, if it was? Was it an intentional ploy to ensure there would be evidence to support her story?
Reportedly, prosecutors don't believe after listening to the recorded call that the incarcerated boyfriend/fiance/husband had a hand in setting up the encounter with DSK. But who was the male he talked to in a recorded call a week or so after the incident, in which the Times reports he said it was his girlfriend who was accusing DSK? Apparently, that call wasn't in a dialect of Fula (also called Fulani) since they didn't need a transcriber to understand it. Has that person been interviewed and shed any light on either the inmate or the accuser?
One last question: The Times said the recorded call between the accuser and the inmate was in "a “unique dialect of Fulani." Was it in Pulaar, which is a dialect of the Fula language spoken in Gambia? According to an article written by someone who used to work with the accuser at the Gambian restaurant in the Bronx, their communications were in Pulaar, which is similar to Pular, an official regional language of Guinea.
I'm out of all the questions I can ask without identifying the accuser. I can't rule out a set-up, but a consensual encounter gone awry, possibly over money, seems more likely to me. I've read far more than I can report here, including interviews with her mother, other relatives and people who knew her or encountered her in various places. Given the varied and often contradictory descriptions, I'm not surprised the DA's office isn't prepared to draw a final conclusion when they've only had much of this information for a week.
I also doubt, unless the media stays on it or the accuser gets charged with a perjury or related crime, we'll ever learn what authorities really think happened between the accuser and DSK.
But I do think the person who will most disappointed is her current lawyer, who like those who preceded him in representing her, took the case believing a rich man exploited a poor immigrant worker, while knowing next to nothing about her.Rush to judgments rarely pan out, for either side.
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