Desperate Last Moves by Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Accuser

As Dominique Strauss-Kahn's supporters plan his return to France and French politics, and Reuters' reports that officials in France believe Tristane Bannon's charges are unlikely to result in a criminal case, Nafassitou Diallo's lawyers are expected to make a last-ditch effort today or tomorrow for a special prosecutor to take over the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. It has no chance of succeeding.

Mr. Thompson’s motion will almost certainly fail, legal experts said, because under the law his client has no authority to ask for Mr. Vance’s office to be replaced by a special prosecutor. “It’s what we call an A.O.D.: an act of desperation,” said Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University Law School. “She may benefit from a successful prosecution, but she has no legal interest in the prosecution.”


The New York Times has the latest on the reasons DA Cy Vance's office will give for dismissing the case: Diallo's repeated lies and her refusal to accept responsibility for any of them. Not only did she continually lie to prosecutors, but when they caught her on it, it was like pulling teeth to get details from her, and she always blamed someone else: From her asylum application lies (someone gave her a tape to memorize) to the money in her bank account (it was her boyfriend) to her fraudulent tax return (it was the tax preparer), the prosecutors determined they couldn't ask jurors to believe despite her continual lies to prosecutors, she was telling the truth to the jury.

[P}rosecutors came to believe that Ms. Diallo seemed unwilling to take responsibility for telling the truth. “We deal with witnesses with these kinds of problems every day,” the official said. “With her, we had to drag the details of the lies out of her over weeks. It might have been different if she had let all the air out in a day or two. Every time she was confronted with her lies, she would blame someone else — someone told her to say this for asylum, someone else took advantage of her bank accounts, someone else did the taxes.”

...“We couldn’t tell the jury that she kept lying to us but that they should believe her,” the senior official said.

Nor are prosecutors buying Diallo's lawyer's version of the recorded phone conversation with Amara Tarawally, her boyfriend/fiance/husband in the Arizona immigration jail, the day after the encounter with Strauss-Kahn. According to the Times:

Later, when he listened to the tape with a translator, Mr. Thompson said the prosecutors had mischaracterized its contents. The district attorney’s office later had several translations from Fulani prepared, and these produced different texts that covered the same subject. The official involved in the investigation said there could be “no question as to the substance of the conversation.”

While prosecutors might have wanted Ms. Diallo to hold off on filing a civil suit, they had no objection to her seeking damages for injuries she might have suffered at the hands of Mr. Strauss-Kahn. But the phone call, the official said, signified another episode of Ms. Diallo’s not being forthright.

Shorter version: She discussed DSK's wealth with her boyfriend and denied doing so to prosecutors, insisting that his financial status never entered her mind.

The New York Post says there will be bombshells revealed tomorrow:

The new details will include evidence that the maid lied to prosecutors about her caught-on-tape plotting for a Strauss-Kahn payday just one day after the alleged assault, and that she also lied to them about having had sex the night before the alleged assault -- a consensual encounter that offers an innocent explanation for redness cited by her lawyers as proof of Strauss-Kahn's guilt, the sources said.

[T]he DOR [dismissal on recommendation request] will include never-before-revealed allegations that Diallo has repeatedly deceived prosecutors and other officials about curious cash deposits into her bank accounts, about her questionable personal relationships, and about whether she had talked with anyone about cashing in against the well-heeled former banker.

Diallo's lawyers have another desperado move in the works. One of them just flew to France where he will give a press conference tomorrow as he embarks on a tour to find more women allegedly assaulted by DSK for his civil suit.

This case has been toast since July 1 when the DA's disclosed Diallo's prior lies to lawyers for DSK in this letter.

After that, her lawyer made a series of poor decisions, from trotting her out to try to sell her case to the public to filing a civil lawsuit for damages to constantly belittling the District Attorney's office. He should have spent his time mending fences with the DA's office and working with his client to overcome her reluctance to telling prosecutors the truth.

Instead, the prosecution is left not only with her admitted lies to the grand jury, lies on her tax return, lies on her asylum application and lies about a prior rape in Guinea, but no confidence in her stories about her drug-dealing boyfriend/fiance/husband, the money that moved through her bank accounts, or her multiple cell phones. The discrepancies in her version of what happened in the aftermath of the encounter may be the least of it.

The Post has not been the most credible source, so I'm not giving much credence to "a bombshell" that she had consensual sex the night before the encounter with DSK. But, if it turns out she did, and lied about it to the DA, only confirming it when they confronted her with evidence of it, game over, probably for the civil suit as well. Same if there's evidence Diallo's lawyer told DSK's lawyers their client would stop cooperating with prosecutors if they reached a financial settlement. Her lawyer denies this happened, but the DA has asked for documentation regarding the lawyers' June meeting. My translation: they probably have documentation provided by DSK's lawyers that reference or infer such an offer.

On to the civil suit, which DSK undoubtedly will settle, so he can be free to travel back and forth to the U.S. and not worry about discovery requests, depositions and private investigators combing through his other personal affairs. Since he has no vast fortune (it's his wife who is wealthy and she isn't obligated to pay any judgment Diallo might win against him), I suspect Diallo will settle for a fairly low amount and DSK's wife will promise to pay it. Diallo's lawyers will take their share, and she'll get the rest.

Things don't look too promising for her. Her fiance/boyfriend/husband is grasping at deportation appeals following his conviction for conspiracy to distribute marijuana, an aggravated felony that mandates removal from the U.S. (He'll probably claim the need for asylum, a long shot.) She may face immigration actions on her false asylum application, or criminal charges from her lies to the grand jury. (The latter is doubtful as it's probably the one benefit the DA is willing to extend to her, so as not to have other women decide against going to authorities with sexual assault allegations for fear of being prosecuted themselves.)

Diallo's lawyer complains his client is being treated like a defendant instead of a victim. If she is not lying about the nature of the encounter with DSK, all she had to do was be truthful with prosecutors and investigators about her past lies that would have come up at trial and they would have gladly worked out an explanation for them, pointing out to the jury that she readily admitted them and explained them. Instead, the DA's office tomorrow will explain that's not the case. I won't be surprised if they mention a concern that Diallo would lie on the witness stand, putting them in the untenable position of knowing their witness was committing perjury.

Our most recent posts on Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his accuser:

All of our coverage is available here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    bombshell (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by markw on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 02:51:24 PM EST
    Given everything else that has been revealed about this case, I would hardly consider the fact that she had consensual sex with someone the night before to be a bombshell (unless it was with DSK), and the fact that she lied about it is par for the course at this point too.

    However, it does weaken her position at civil court if the vaginal redness that she had at the time of the rape examination has a more likely explanation than what she has alleged (being grabbed there by an angry rapist).

    Thanks Jeralyn. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Green26 on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 12:23:38 PM EST
    I really enjoyed and appreciated all of your analysis in the various threads. And kudos to you for being the only one in this forum, or about the only one, who made a case for DSK not being guilty or being able to get off. I normally would be on your side in situations like this, but wasn't on this one.

    I have come to  believe that her statements on what occurred in the room were probably truthful or largely truthful, but perhaps new information about her credibility will change my view.

    While the incredible, and I believe unnecessary, rush to judgment by the investigators and prosecutors was unfortunate and really horrible, I do believe DSK is a horrible guy and I'm glad he got caught in all this and that his actions have become widely known and his reputation has suffered.

    Again, thanks. I learned alot. Like others on this site, I found it during the Duke lacrosse rape case and have continued to look at it almost daily.

    I agree with this (none / 0) (#4)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 01:46:26 PM EST
    It is a very sensitive subject and to be blunt, the analysis coming from a female expert on the subject with left of center beliefs really made me take notice of all of her posts on this subject.

    Incredibly refreshing reminder about how important the standard of innocent until proven guilty is supposed to be.

    Now do I think DSK is a jerk? He seems to be and I place the odds of him having inappropriate contact with women in the past fairly high, but our system works on the basis of letting the guilty man go to protect the rights of the accused but innocent.

    This is the way the system is supposed to work.  Although the prosecution was too quick to arrest/indict, their actions in revealing information and dropping the case (if it happens) are too be commended.

    They made mistakes but owned up to them appropriately afterwards.


    interesting quote from Diallo attorney... (none / 0) (#2)
    by lawstudent on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 12:39:00 PM EST
    "She should not have her right to go to trial in a criminal case taken away by the Manhattan district attorney's office."

    I didn't know the accuser/alleged victim has a right to go to trial in a criminal case.

    she doesn't (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 12:57:21 PM EST
    have that right.

    yes (none / 0) (#7)
    by lawstudent on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 05:14:27 PM EST
    exactly.  i was speaking sarcastically.  a whole lot of grandstanding here by diallo's attorney.  and the ignorant press eats it up.

    I understood and (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 06:07:41 PM EST
    was impressed you knew that. Law school needs students like you!

    The NYT article rolls out (none / 0) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 02:06:07 PM EST
    the reasons for the imminent request of Vance's office for dismissal of charges.  And, none too soon, given the shredded credibility and even, if gone to trial, the likely call of prosecutors by the defense to testify.   The rest can be left to the civil suit, which, as Jeralyn suggests, will be settled as quickly as feasible.  Thanks to Jeralyn for her expertise and insights from the get go.