DA Files Motion to Dismiss Charges Against Dominique Strauss Kahn
“The nature and number of the complainant’s falsehoods leave us unable to credit her version of events beyond a reasonable doubt, whatever the truth may be about the encounter between the complainant and the defendant,” the papers state. “If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so.”
DSK's lawyers issued this statement: [More...]
“We have maintained from the beginning of this case that our client is innocent.” ... “We also maintained that there were many reasons to believe that Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s accuser was not credible. Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his family are grateful that the district attorney’s office took our concerns seriously and concluded on its own that this case cannot proceed further. We look forward to attending the hearing on Tuesday.”
While the prosecutors didn't make draw any factual conclusions as to what happened during the hotel room encounter, they take the extra step of saying they can't even conclude Strauss-Kahn is guilty:
Rather, we simply no longer have confidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.”
In other words, they are not just saying they think he's guilty but they can't prove it. They are saying they aren't sure of his guilt. What a difference from their position when they filed the charges.
Here's my longer post earlier today about the problems with the case and the accuser's lawyers' latest attempts, which surely will be futile, at fighting the DA.
I have nothing but praise for the dismissal. Nothing will undo the damage Strauss-Kahn suffered by the early rush to judgment, arrest, perp walk and onerous bail conditions. This has cost him the Presidency of his country and his reputation. But the DA did the right thing in the end, notwithstanding the accuser and her lawyers' desperate grandstanding.
The main takeaways: Police should thoroughly investigate the facts before seeking an arrest warrant. Bond is not a punishment to be meted out pre-trial. This isn't Alice in Wonderland ("No no, said the Queen, First the Punishment Then the Verdict.") Prosecutors should only seek to deny bail where the suspect is a flight risk and a danger to the community. And perhaps most importantly, accusers should not have the privilege of anonymity -- especially when they retain their own counsel who go on TV day after day publicly trashing the named suspect, claiming he's guilty and ostracizing him.
In the end, Cy Vance and his office respected the most important lesson of all: A prosecutor's job is not to convict, but to see that justice is done.
Kudos to William Taylor and Ben Brafman for a job well done. Against all odds, and with very little public comment and no grandstanding, they prevailed.
I'll be back with more thoughts after I've read the 25 page motion.
All of our prior coverage of the case is here.
Update: The motion confirms my speculation this morning: the prosecutors were concerned the accuser would commit perjury on the witness stand at trial:
[W]e have no confidence that the complainant would tell the truth on this issue if she were called as a witness at trial.13
13. See New York Rules of Prof I Conduct R. 3.3(a)(3) ("[a] lawyer shall not knowingly ... offer or use evidence that the lawyer knows to be false," and "[a] lawyer may refuse to offer evidence ... that the lawyer reasonably believes is false");id. R. 3.3 cmt. 6A (prosecutors have additional duty "to correct any false evidence that the government has already offered," and prosecutor should inform the tribunal when she comes to know that a prosecution witness has testified falsely); id. cmt. 9.
Also critical: While she admitted some lies to prosecutors, including lying to the grand jury, she at times denied telling prosecutors certain things in earlier interviews.
And then there's this, about her admitted false account of a prior rape she invented:
[M]ost significant is her ability to recount that fiction as fact with complete conviction.Even her excuse for lying turned out to be a lie:
In response to questioning by prosecutors on May 16, 2011, the complainant volunteered that she had previously been gang raped by soldiers who had invaded her home in Guinea. In an interview held on May 30, 2011, she offered precise and powerful details about the number and nature of her attackers and the presence of her 2-year-old daughter at the assault scene, who, she said, was pulled from her arms and thrown to the ground. During both interviews, she identified certain visible scars on her person, which she claimed were sustained during the attack. On both occasions, the complainant recounted the rape with great emotion and conviction: she cried, spoke hesitatingly, and appeared understandably distraught, and during the first interview, even laid her head face down on her arms on a table in front of her.She couldn't even keep her lies straight, and then justified lying to prosecutors by saying she wasn't under oath? As if that makes it ok?
In subsequent interviews conducted on June 8,2011, and June 9, 2011, the complainant admitted to prosecutors that she had entirely fabricated this attack. When asked to explain why, she initially stated that she had lied about the gang rape because she had included it in her application for asylum, and she was afraid to vary from her application statement; she also stated that at the time she told prosecutors this account, she was not under oath.
When confronted with the fact that her written asylum application statement made no mention of the gang rape, she stated that she had fabricated the gang rape, as well as other details of her life in Guinea, in collaboration with an unnamed male with whom she consulted as she was preparing to seek asylum. .... Ultimately, she told prosecutors she decided not to reference the rape in her written application. (my emphasis.)
She admitted falsifying her applications for low-income housing:
For example, she executed repeated certifications that she now admits were fraudulent to re-establish her eligibility for the low-income housing where she resided, in which she intentionally omitted the income she made from the Sofitel.She also didn't just allow her drug-dealer boyfriend to make large cash deposits into her account -- she helped disburse the money:
At times, she said, he had asked her to withdraw cash that he had deposited and give the money to a business partner of his who was located in New York City.The medical and scientific evidence did not establish a non-consensual forcible encounter. She refused to turn over her prior medical records so prosecutors could determine if her claimed shoulder injury was pre-existing.
She gave three different versions of what happened after the encounter. Version 2, told in the presence of her attorney on June 28:
The complainant gave a new version of these events, stating that after leaving the defendant's room, she had gone directly into another room (2820) to finish cleaning it She gave specific details, saying that she had vacuumed the floor and cleaned the mirrors and other furniture in that room. She further stated that after completing her tasks in Room 2820, she had returned to the defendant's suite and began to clean it as well. She reported that when she subsequently went to a linen closet in the 28th floor hallway to retrieve supplies, she encountered her supervisor, and the two of them went back into Suite 2806 together.When confronted with the fact that the key card entries showed she only was in 2820 for a minute, not long enough to clean, on July 27, she came up with version 3:
Those records, which were also provided to complainant's counsel by someone outside of this Office, established that the complainant entered Room 2820 at 12:26 p.m., and also entered defendant's suite during the same minute (also 12:26.)Mistranslated? Doubtful, says the DA:
...Immediately after the incident, she stated, she left Suite 2806 and ran around the comer, as she had originally reported, not right into Room 2820. After seeing the defendant leave in the elevator, she entered Room 2820 only momentarily to retrieve cleaning supplies.
As to the statements that the complainant had made on June 28, she denied making them, and asserted that they must have been mistranslated by the interpreter or misunderstood by prosecutors. But that claim is not believable in light of the extensive follow-up questioning about these events, as well as the complainant's insistence on June 28 that the account she gave on that day was truthful. Critically, her willingness to deny having made those statements to the very same prosecutors who had heard her make them on June 28 calls her credibility into question at the most fundamental level.
The complainant demonstrated her ability to speak and understand English over the course of numerous interviews with investigators and prosecutors. Indeed, at times, she corrected the interpreter's translation of her remarks. Notably, she did not do so during the extended questioning on this topic in the June 28 interview.I've just scratched the surface. There are many more inconsistencies and lies recounted by prosecutors in their motion. On a lighter note, the Sofitel suite DSK stayed in sure gets a lot of action. It's also not a place I'd want to walk around barefoot:
Three of the other stains on the carpet contained the semen and DNA of three different unknown males, and one other stain contained amylase and a mixture of DNA from three additional unknown individuals. The stain on the wallpaper contained the semen and DNA of a fourth unknown male.
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