Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Case Dismissed

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jami Floyd, legal analyst, sometime guest host for The Brian Lehrer Show, and It's A Free Country blogger, and Will Saletan, Slate's national correspondent, talk about the Manhattan DA's decision to request all charges be dropped against Dominique Strauss-Kahn.


Jami Floyd and Will Saletan

Comments [31]

Has DA Vance declared "open season on DSK'sVictim from Where is JUSTICE ?

DSK - a wealthy, well-connected and influential person - did not even have to face a jury with regard to charges of RAPE.

The DA - Vance - should be made to resign for this. He dismissed the charges - despite strong physical evidence. He allegedly did so because the victim - who was a refugee - had a record of misstatements on her asylum application, and because her account of the events after the trauma of the rape was inconsistent.

DA Vance publicly humiliated her and publicly called her a liar. He did NOT allow her to have her day in court and let a JURY DECIDE.

DA Vance did not question DSK's integrity ! Has he lied ?
Does he routinely frequent prostitutes ? Does he routinely accept bribes of sex from banks and other companies with business before the IMF ? No, he merely assumed that the weak party - a poor refugee, a maid, by many accounts a devout person - lied. He let DSK
go WITHOUT A TRIAL. He kept his prosecution for the VICTIM.


Does DA Vance imply that if anyone rapes this victim in the future, they will also face no trial, simply because the victim allegedly lied in the past. Has he declared "OPEN SEASON" on her and on other women - that men of power and influence can RAPE them with impunity ?
That anyone stunned and shocked by brutal victimization who has some variation in their initial account of events will not even get their case heard by a jury - that the DA will refuse to do their job and act as a prosecutor to try to get
to the Truth ? Does this mean that anyone who has inconsistencies in government or other bureaucratic forms now has NO RECOURSE TO JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW ?!?!?!?


He should be made to resign.

An independent investigation into DSK's
truthfulness, ethics and past should be conducted and the results made public.

DA Vance will no doubt collect his reward in a few years from DSK's powerful and wealthy friends - even if he loses his job, but he is no longer fit to work as a PUBLIC AGENT of JUSTICE.


Aug. 26 2011 03:49 PM
Fuva from Harlemworld

"...The District Attorney’s press conference was cut short when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the room in New York City, causing reporters to flee out of the building."

Aug. 24 2011 09:04 PM
Fuva from Harlemworld

ok..the ground started to shake at the press conference when Vance started to announce the case dismissal...i'm not saying it was a message from the gods...

Aug. 24 2011 03:40 PM
DSK : Perjury about Patronizing Prostitutes ?

Did the DA ask DSK UNDER OATH if he had routinely patronized prostitutes in the past ?

If he admitted that he had, this would call DSK's character into question. It is also against the law.

If he denied it under oath and perjured himself - this would have given the DA a way to question DSK's credibility. A DA who was actually trying to prosecute his case, rather than pander to the wealthy, could most likely have found various prostitutes in Europe and the US who might have come forward to discuss DSK's activities, if this had been his routine behavior. This would have been material to the case, (and of course the perjury would have been a crime). But, no doubt, the DA wanted to treat his royal client DSK with kid gloves.

It is also possible that DSK wrongfully assumed the victim was a prostitute because he was used to large banks and wealthy companies with business before the IMF to try to give him "gifts" of such services to win his favor or maybe some insider tips.

This is all clearly just speculation. It would have taken a DA who was actually doing his job to actually try to find the truth. Now we will most likely never know. DSK and his wealthy buddies have won.

Of course it is also possible that DSK was innocent and completely truthful. This was for a JURY to decide.

The DA's job is to prosecute, the Defense's job is to protect DSK, the JURY's job is to hear the evidence and find JUSTICE.

But they never had the chance, so we won't know. DA C. Vance should resign.

Aug. 23 2011 01:40 PM
Mr. Bad from IL

@ Fuva from Harlemworld

Yes by all means use this sad state of affairs to "leverage" more "teachable moments" down the throat of an already vomiting society. Not one of us, including myself, know with certainty what happened in that hotel room - we may each have our own opinions as to what likely occurred but what we need LEAST of all is more despicable political grandstanding and not-for-profit-except-for-the-salary advocates drumming up a lot noise for the sake of their own careers.

Neither DSK not Diallo are angels, that much is certain but I'm Vance would have brought the case to trial if there was even a chance of winning, rather than live with this egg on his face, he didn't - doesn't that tell you something?

Once you've LIED about being raped, that doesn't mean you've lied about anything and everything but it sure puts a lot of REASONABLE DOUBT into the mind of a jury when it's a he said, she said situation. Duh.

Class and race have nothing to do with it, DSK doesn't beat city hall by being a rich white french guy - he beats this case because Diallo lied about the EXACT SAME THING before and likely a lot else. If there was no anal/vaginal intercourse it's also quite easy to simulate forcible rape - that much should be obvious.

Aug. 23 2011 12:38 PM
Power versus Justice ? Who did the DA serve?

There were plenty of potential benefits to DA Vance for dropping the case against DSK.

There were plenty of potential benefits to DA Vance for botching the case against DSK so he would "have to" drop it.

DSK was a wealthy, powerful and influential man with many friends here and abroad.

Perhaps, both discretely and legally, some time in the future, DSK or his friends will show DA Vance, his family or friends their gratitude.

If DA Vance persisted, they might have shown DA Vance, his family or friends their wrath.

No doubt, if this would happen it would be very discrete. Perhaps an anonymous corporate donation to his future candidacy for judge in a few years, perhaps book and speaking fees, perhaps some subtle plum consulting or corporate board jobs for him or those close to him.

If this were to happen, it'd be discrete, and it'd probably even be technically legal.

As DSK (and DA Vance) have shown, the real "teaching moment" here is that in the United States in 2011, a sufficiently wealthy and powerful person can seem to get away with anything - without even having to face a jury for the most serious of accused crimes.

Like the "nobles" of ancient France, it appears that wealthy and powerful in the US can not only get away with paying almost no taxes, they get repeatedly bailed out by the government when they harm the rest of us, whether that's in widespread bank theft of people's homes, or now, far more chillingly, when they are accused of rape and when there is substantial physical evidence to suggest it was the case. Droit du seigneur.

Did the prosecution even interogate DSK to find o ut how he claims he "seduced" a maid in his room ?

Would anyone find his statements credible ? Why were they so afraid that a jury would not believe him that they prevented justice - a trial by a jury of one's peers. Instead, he was sprung by the actions a single government employee -
DA Vance, someone who has a duty to protect justice.

There are always people who want to seek
to please the powerful in hopes of an eventual boon or in fear of reprisal
(for example like being publicly called an
intentional liar by a government official,
or by being slandered in the local press and being called a prostitute without evidence - both of which happened to the victim DA Vance was supposed to protect).
Can the victim sue the DA for slander ?
Probably not, Droit du seigneur again.

The real and evil "teaching moment" here,
is that in the United States in 2011, a sufficiently wealthy and powerful person can get away with anything. Where's the justice ?

Aug. 23 2011 12:25 PM
Fuva from Harlemworld

I really hope that women's advocates really leverage this as a teachable moment, and educate women about their rights, sexual rights, legal protocols and other issues raised. I'll be writing Letitia James, my own reps and others to that effect. I urge everyone to.

Aug. 23 2011 11:57 AM
Reba Shimansky from Manhattan

The charges against DSM should not have been dropped. DSM has admitted to a sexual encounter.There is enough credible evidence to indicate that Diallo was a victim of sexual violence. Nothing that Diallo has said contradicts the what she said happened in that hotel room. This has opened up a flood gate of allegations of sexual misconduct by DSK in France. He is a serial sexual predator. Diallo should not be treated as the defendant and DSK is no innocent..She should have her day in court and let the jury determine her veracity.It should not be dropped just because of hearsay and selective leaks by the district attorney`s office. This is why women rarely report sexual crimes and there is no question that Diallo is a victim of class discrimination.

Aug. 23 2011 11:40 AM
Amy from Manhattan

To commenters asking why the accuser's history is admissible in court but the accused's isn't, this is the same in any criminal case as part of the constitutional protections of all defendants. The reason the accuser's history is considered relevant is that consent is an issue in rape cases in a way that it isn't in robbery or battery cases--& if someone in that type of case had a history of apparently lying it might be admissible too.

Aug. 23 2011 11:24 AM
Fuva from Harlemworld

Amy, exactly. Perhaps there's been habituation of embellishment...This may very well be the case of victim embellishment, but victimization nonetheless (like a whiplash case?)...

Aug. 23 2011 11:08 AM

It seems that Nafi was first assaulted by dsk, then the media including wnyc , CNN,ny post who spread rumors leaked by prosecutors and defense and framed the whole case in the best llight for the defense. Final assault by weak Cyrus one term vance. Let this case be decided by jury and we can all live with results like Casey Anthony case.

Aug. 23 2011 10:55 AM
Fuva from Harlemworld

Mosh, I hear you. The scenario that has her AGREEING to this rough encounter in the alleged time period lacks plausibility, probability. I'm curious about how the D.A. reconciled this.

Aug. 23 2011 10:54 AM
John A.

The woman is going to be able to write a book on this; I think. The man has probably lost his high office and a portion of his power. It's not "a wash".

A set-up possible? yes. actual? I have no idea.

What this story needs, I think, is a sister story of someone who successfully prosecuted an unwitnessed, disputed rape and what it took to get to 'guilty'.

Aug. 23 2011 10:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

If this was mentioned, I missed it: There are many "notarios," often posing as lawyers, who advise immigrants applying for asylum to exaggerate what they've been through to increase their chances of being granted asylum.

Aug. 23 2011 10:52 AM
Mr. Bad from IL

The most important thing here is that one should NEVER lie about sexual assault, no matter what is at stake. The notion that it is a victimless crime to lie about a rape to get political asylum is nonsense, even if this woman's lie has thrown a TINY amount of doubt upon the applications of other women who really have been raped and are seeking asylum she is guilty of a moral transgression we don't have name for yet.

Also, did Floyd say that the allegation is of forced oral sex ? No vaginal intercourse? If that is true I have to say it just doesn't make sense, I seriously doubt a man would place his member into the mouth of a woman he violently coerced into sex, I'm not saying that a woman can't be raped that way, just that given those circumstances it is much more likely an act of prostitution.

Aug. 23 2011 10:48 AM
da Bronx from Bronx

I've been a women's libber from way back and from the beginning of this case I smelled a rat - mainly I just don't get forcible rape in the form of a BJ - how does he force your teeth to unhinge? Breaking your jaw?
Perhaps it was done for money and he didn't pay or it was a political plot from France. We will never know because probably everybody has been fibbing.

Aug. 23 2011 10:48 AM
The Real Truth from Becky

Rooney: anything is possible, I mean I could be participating in this convo from the moon...could I not? I mean she didn't know this guy, it's not like he is George Clooney and why set him up here and not in France?

Aug. 23 2011 10:46 AM
Fuva from Harlemworld

Is the accuser, who initiates the charge, legitmately held to a higher standard of "credibility"?

Aug. 23 2011 10:42 AM
Laura from UWS

I'm surprised how frequently the general public and too many media commentators ignore the principle of Innocent Until Proven Guilty.

Aug. 23 2011 10:40 AM
Mosh from New York

So what's the plausible explanation for a consensual sexual encounter between two strangers, an elderly overweight gentleman and an African maid? That they were spontaneously overcome with lust for one another?

Aug. 23 2011 10:39 AM
Brian from Hoboken

A few observations from this case:
-When a woman is going to allege sexual assault- in what is often a he said-she said case which hinges on credibility, don't lie to te police or prosecutors trying to help you!
-Is it fair that the accuser's past history which influences her credibility can be used in proceedings but accusations and past behavior by DSK can't be used?

Aug. 23 2011 10:38 AM
Rooney from Brooklyn, NY

Becky: I'm not saying nothing happened -- just that it was part of a larger, very sophisticated political set-up. Diallo may or may not have known that she was a pawn for others' political motives. It's definitely possible.

Aug. 23 2011 10:38 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

While I, as a woman, understand that it is important - vital - to prosecute ANYONE who in any way sexually harrasses or attacks or abuses women (or anyone else), it is also vital to the prosecution that the victim provide a coherent enough story to prosecute. Unfortunately, going through prosecution and trial means providing victim/witness testimony in addition to forensic evidence. If the victim cannot keep his/her story straight, it is difficult enough to get it to court. If the victim cannot keep his/her story straight in the courtroom, then prosecution will be a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

I don't know the victim here, nor have I heard her story from her own mouth - which is actually the point of trial by jury - but if the prosecution believes that this victim is prevaricating in any way, it means they know from experience that they'll never win in court and the whole thing would be a colossal waste.

Aug. 23 2011 10:38 AM
Susan from nyc

To compare this to the Duke lacrosse case is inane--here there is a great deal of physical evidence, at Duke there was none; here the DA bent over backwards to be above-board with the defense, at Duke the DA engaged in criminal behavior to hide the truth. This case should go to trial.

Aug. 23 2011 10:36 AM
The Truth from Becky

Lying on taxes or on asylum application does not equal lying about a rape. We need to stop poo pooing rape and domestic violence in this country especially because of celebrity of the accused.

Aug. 23 2011 10:36 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

yes I agree, there is a deep hypocrisy here and something terribly wrong with our legal system that the accuser's past matters so much that the DA wimps out but Strauss-Kahn's past behavior somehow is not allowed to be taken into account.

Uh..unfair much?

Plus, the idea that if a woman is sexually assaulted she had better be a paragon of virtue in all aspects or her case won't be taken seriously despite the quite frankly pretty chilling and disgusting.

Aug. 23 2011 10:36 AM
The Truth from Becky

ROONEY: Is the presence of semen part of the set up? Faked that too huh?

Aug. 23 2011 10:35 AM
ralph from Staten Island

I'm not surprised that DSK is being let go. When his wife came to the US, it was understood that she was going to inject millions of dollars to his defense. We are seeing what millions of dollars injected into the criminal justice system can do.
Justice or Just Us.

Aug. 23 2011 10:34 AM
Rooney from Brooklyn, NY

I still cannot believe that NO ONE in the mainstream media is voicing the strong possibility that this was a political set-up. DSK was, after all, on the verge of becoming the next president of France. Does no one else see this as a possibility?!

Aug. 23 2011 10:33 AM
maryna lansky from Battery Park

DA Vance has lost two high profile cases and may have asked for dismissal because he was afraid of losing another

Aug. 23 2011 10:33 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

Perhaps Vance is just gun-shy. Those cops who allegedly raped the woman in a blackout were found not guilty. Maybe Vance is just reluctant to bring another rape case to trial.

DSK's past behavior is off limits (he seems to act like a moose in rut most of the time) but the accuser's past behavior is not off limits. Sarcasm alert: What a woman really needs is 2 witnesses not related to her by blood.

Aug. 23 2011 10:30 AM

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