Breaking Silence Is Not a Sure Bet for Strauss-Kahn Accuser, Experts Say

Monday, July 25, 2011

Now that the hotel housekeeper who accused ex-International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault has gone to the press with her account of what happened, legal experts are debating whether the media appearances will help or hurt her credibility.

Questions about the viability of the case surfaced when prosecutors revealed the accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, lied on her asylum application, her income tax returns and in interviews with investigators.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers claim Diallo is putting on a media circus to pressure the District Attorney to prosecute the case. 

"I think it's bad news for the defense side," said Jim Cohen of Fordham Law School. "On this particular matter, she came across, and intended to come across, as a truth teller. And she wanted to send that message both to the prosecutors and to the public."

Diallo told Newsweek that Strauss-Kahn attacked her "like a crazy man" in his posh Midtown hotel suite on May 14 as she begged him to stop.

"I push him. I get up. I wanted to scare him. I said, 'Look, there is my supervisor right there,"' she told the magazine.

But she said Strauss-Kahn tore her pantyhose, grabbed her crotch and then held her head in place to force her to perform oral sex on him.

Until now, the public has been fed a steady diet of unflattering theories about her private life.  

Jane Manning, a former sex crimes prosecutor in Queens, said the media appearances help humanize Diallo, but she could be setting herself up to be impeached on the witness stand.

"Most prosecutors don't want their witnesses to speak to the press before the case goes to trial, and there's a really simple reason for that," she said. "If a person is telling a story — even if you're 100 percent truthful — you never tell a story the same way twice."

Manning said defense lawyers will scrutinize her public accounts this week, and prey on any inconsistencies at trial.  

Even if the criminal case fails, Strauss-Kahn may not be off the hook.  The woman's lawyer has announced she intends to file a civil suit against Strauss-Kahn for allegedly sexually assaulting her.


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Comments [5]

Carlita from Canada

I'll be hanged if I can understand how the maid can provide such an elaborately detailed description of the assault while neglecting to mention that SDK stopped at 12:15, presumably mid-attempted rape, to phone his daughter and discuss their lunch plans. Why didn't the maid run away then? Later, she apparently must have hung around after this alleged attempted rape to watch him get dressed, finish packing etc. Sorry but this maid's story is phoney as a two dollar bill and she's a terrible actress, to boot. Tearless weeping just doesn't substitute for truth.

Jul. 31 2011 05:32 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

Dana, there's way MORE than enough evidence for a rigorous prosecution. Let a jury decide.

The accused has his own credibility issues given his long history of being a sexually aggressive and lying "pig" to use your term.

Jul. 26 2011 07:00 PM

I was really on the accuser's side, especially given DSK's history - a real pig. However, all of the questions that have arisen about her lying in the past, her discussions with the friend in jail, $100k's rotating through her bank accounts, and then the fake presentation on tv, lead me to truly question the validity of her claim.

I hate to change my position . . . but something does not smell right.

Jul. 26 2011 10:22 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

She should have bitten his penis off and then immediately bashed his head in with the nearest blunt object............but putting that hindsight aside, this victim has NO alternative BUT to go public in order to have the slightest chance of counteracting the influence of this extremely wealthy and powerful scumbag.

At this point it seems more likely that the DA will drop the case, especially after Murdoch's "Post" has declared the victim a "prostitute".

It is common knowledge that victims in this situation make mistakes and even mis-statements in the immediate aftermath of a RAPE!!!

If this case is NOT fully and aggressively prosecuted it will be due to one factor and one factor ONLY...and that is a morally and ethically CORRUPT DA's office that was utterly intimidated at the prospect of losing a case to a "dream team" that this wealthy man will assemble.

Clearly, if the DA goes forward the global Murdoch media machine will be supporting the rapist and every mistake and imperfection in the victims life will be put under the microscope.....but I have to believe that there is at least a chance that a jury will see through the BS that the defense will put up....but again, I hate to sound cynical, this will likely be dropped by Vance as he doesn't have the stomach or the integrity for a real fight in the interests of justice. I hope I'm wrong.

Jul. 26 2011 08:34 AM
teak from NY

Even those who have believed her story before would have serious doubt about her truthfulness now. Her demeanor is totally fake on TV. I am not surprised if DSK sleeps very well tonight for the first time in two and half months. Rest assured the case will be dismissed.

Jul. 25 2011 11:00 PM

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