Tuesday, May 17, 2011

All Over for DSK

DSK's defense is "consent." In other words, he doesn't deny the sexual contact. This defense is, in a word, risible. No American jury will buy it. He's cooked.

It's unbelievable that a man in a position to become president of France would risk it all for an orgasm, but there it is. Sometimes the unbelievable is true. After the initial shock and attempts to rationalize away the facts as they began to emerge, it now seems impossible to avoid the stark conclusion: the head of the IMF is a (likely recidivist) sexual predator and will spend the next 25 years of his life in prison.

I should add the usual "innocent until proven guilty," etc., but I'm feeling angry at being betrayed by a candidate I thought I might be able to support (not for the first time).

63 comments:

Christelle Nadia said...

Art, you are overreacting! I will bet you a trip to Bali that a jury will buy his defense. His lawyers are going to attack savagely the 'accuser.' After all, who will a group of new yorkers feel closer to a chic french man of the world or an 'immigrant' from an African country who may be a Moslem?

Anonymous said...

I don't see a jury buying that story. She was working, and apparently had impeccable work history. Would she risk losing her job for a quicky at noon with a fat, old man? Sure, he has more to risk, but remember that when hotel staff goes into a room, others know they are there (they leave carts outside) and they leave the door open.

Robert said...

Art, remember that Kobe Bryant (him again) also used the consent defense and he got off. That argument, in and of itself, doesn't determine the outcome of a case.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

True, true, but I don't see it working for DSK. Maybe I'm naive.

Anonymous said...

Is there a better source for this than the New York Post?

Steven Rendall said...

I know you'll see this, but just in case: http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/actualite/l-affaire-dsk/20110517.OBS3339/affaire-strauss-kahn-encore-un-mot-d-urgence.html

I think Jean Daniel is way off base on this one.

Vertigo said...

CNN is saying that his defense will drive home the fact that he was eating with his daughter at the time of the alleged rape. Once the time line becomes clearer, one should know how this will pan out.
I also don't think this is the end of DSK.

Anonymous said...

Beside a pretence unity image, PS will need to find a new line of conduct and morality rather than criticisms and opinions on foreign juridical system.

Learn from your mistakes, but what can we learn here? Ethic?

InDC said...

Along those lines, what do you think of this Le Monde article? Écoeurant in my view, but given the prominence on the website, perhaps worth posting:

http://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2011/05/17/dsk-des-socialistes-denoncent-une-justice-inhumaine_1523157_823448.html

brent said...

It remains to be seen whether the Post story is reliable, how well the defense sells its story, whether the victim is impeachable, etc. etc. But I do respectfully disagree with Christelle Nadia: an American jury will NOT be impressed with DSK's sophistication or 'charm'. It WILL strongly support an underdog, whose (legal) immigrant status will not be a liability at all. On the contrary, her situation practically writes the script: powerful man abuses powerless woman and tries to use his privilege (expensive lawyers, fancy education) to escape responsibility. Americans HATE that sort of thing.Barring some real dirt, it will never fly.

Christelle Nadia said...

I disagree with you Brent. In sex crime cases, the underdog is slapped around because it is easy to believe that she wanted it for whatever reason. New York isn't Mobile, Alabma. New Yorkers love French wine, flair, and sophistication.
Let's have this talk in a few months after DSK has been found not guilty if there is a trial.

Erin said...

Art, your coverage of this event is fantastic. I look forward to continuing to follow you.

Robert said...

Brent: Again, Kobe Bryant was the privileged party (celebrity, expensive lawyers) in a state (Colorado) the media portrayed as VERY tough towards sexual assault defendants.

Need I say more?

Not to say a jury will NOT convince DSK, but it seems awfully early to predict any sort of outcome.

Anonymous said...

I would be willing to bet that the victim will be well represented. I'm sure some big-name lawyer will work for her pro bono to get publicity

Robert said...

Not necessarily pro bono. In a civil suit, the lawyer would presumably get part of whatever (if anything) she gets awarded.

Anonymous said...

According to France2, the New York Post is just interpreting to its own liking something DSK's lawyer said yesterday.

Mélanie

Anonymous said...

Sorry Christelle... You are ignorant about American juries including NY juries... They are working people -- they do not like French wine or French sophistication..... at all...

And you clearly have never seen the 20 year TV show LAW AND ORDER -- this case is practically identical to numerous episodes of that show....

Hint: the fat rich rapist always loses...

meshplate said...

I agree with Art and Kirk. DSK will have lots of time to write his memoirs. On another note, we heard it all now: the new Dreyfus, the conspiracy, and now US justice is contemptuous and violent. Some socialists have covered themselves in m***e since the beginning of the affair - not a single word for the victim or the crimes DSK committed. They have no moral credibility as I see it and that's bad because there are few that do in French politics.

Anonymous said...

The fact is simple: the legal team are open to a "consent" defense but will not reveal their strategy (that early in the 'game' it'd be stupid, anyway).
Consent cases are notoriously difficult. Many people can imagine that DSK is guilty and many others think it makes no sense whatsoever that he'd jump on a random hotel maid. He'll have to be proven guilty.
However, there's also the fact the DA claimed he had proofs of other such attempts and if more women come out of the woodwork it'll be harder for DSK to use a "consent" defense.

A bit of levity: the Canard Enchainé's take on this (tomorrow's cover).
http://twitpic.com/4yw9cb

Myos

Mitch Guthman said...

I guess I’d wait and see if the Post report is accurate but, really, if it’s consent then he’s toast. There’s a lot about the timeline and her story of an elderly naked man laying in wait for the first hotel maid to enter his room and then running out of the bathroom and attacking her that makes no sense. But consent makes even less sense. I think there’s pretty near total agreement among criminal lawyers that, in cases involving total strangers, “consent” is the last refuge of the rapist. “Hello I’m DSK. I’m a rich VIP and I have about a half hour to kill before I have lunch with the daughter. Would you mind taking off your clothes and having sex with me, just to kill the time?” is probably not going to resonate well with a jury.

Truth aside, if there isn’t any physical evidence (i.e., no scratch marks on DSK and none of his skin under her fingernails) he’d do much better with a “reasonable doubt” defense and picking apart the logical inconsistencies in her story and the gaps in the timeline.

If he goes with "reasonable doubt", I think it would be hard to get a conviction on the evidence as it stands now but if they go with consent you could pick a jury from the KKK branch in Lumpkin County, Georgia and they'd convict in a heartbeat.

meshplate said...

@Thanks Mitch. Your post made me laugh!

Cincinna said...

The presumption of innocence - presumed innocent until proven guilty,, is a legal concept. It guarantees that every defendant is presumed innocent under the law. It certainly doesn't proclude regular folks from expressing an opinion and using their common sense.
The evidence so far against DSK makes me think he did it, that he is a sexual predator, and probably has done it before.
BTW There is no reason to doubt the validity of the NY Post. It is a reliably sourced local paper that has excellent coverage of local issues, criminal and political.

@ Christelle Have you ever sat on or pleaded a case before a NY Jury? For the average NY man or woman in the street, being rich, powerful, and French is not viewed as a good thing.
NY Juries are fair-minded, conscientious, and take their civic responsibility to serve very seriously.
The fact that this woman is a hardworking mother of two, and an African immigrant will add to her credibility. Her
neighbors and family as character witnesses ditto. The fact
she wears a head scarf and is a devout Muslim will not be relevant, except to present her as a pious devout moral woman.
We are not France, after all!

Anonymous said...

A note: Ségolène Royal was on TV tonight and she did have a thought for the victim. Refreshing after Jack Lang's words yesterday (he was truly disgusting). Jean Daniel should retire. He must be about 90 now. He should have left when things were still good - I used to respect him tremendously.

Some video links:

- "s'il est dans cette prison, c'st parce qu'il est français"

http://videos.tf1.fr/jt-20h/affaire-dsk-s-il-est-dans-cette-prison-c-est-parce-qu-il-est-francais-6478953.html
- wait, since when Rikers = the Tombs????!!!
- wait, DSK's in the Infirmery, ie., in protective custody!!

-The American judicial system, seen by the French
http://videos.tf1.fr/jt-20h/dsk-face-au-systeme-judiciaire-americain-6478957.html

Note that the maid, who is from Western Africa, has long straight auburn hair in the TF1 depiction

- Ségolène Royal talks about the victim first thing and doesn't confuse "innocent till proven guilty" with "denial of any possible guilt":
http://videos.tf1.fr/jt-20h/segolene-royal-je-suis-candidate-par-devoir-6478962.html

- Daniel Schneiderman talks about things he knows happened to close female friends
http://ce-soir-ou-jamais.france3.fr/?page=emission&id_rubrique=1418

- Daniel Schneiderman gets slapped by BHL for talking about his friends:
http://www.arretsurimages.net/vite.php?id=11157

Cincinna said...

@Anonymous
The alleged victim has engaged a lawyer, Jeffrey Shapiro.
I'm glad to know that it wont be Gloria Allred or the Rev Al, the usual media whores that turn trials like this into even more of a circus. Even though, they may still show up.

Anonymous said...

"NY Jury? For the average NY man or woman in the street, being rich, powerful, and French is not viewed as a good thing.
NY Juries are fair-minded, conscientious, and take their civic responsibility to serve very seriously.
The fact that this woman is a hardworking mother of two, and an African immigrant will add to her credibility. Her
neighbors and family as character witnesses ditto."

Isn't this rather contradictory?

~ Squiggle

Anonymous said...

@Christelle: NO, you can't "slap around" the plaintiff in a rape case. Not sure whether you've heard, but the defense can't bring up past sexual conduct.
Also, it's a NY CITY jury, not a central-park-west case. The jury may come from Washington Heights, Williamsburg, New Hyde Park, or Jamaica Estates.
In any case, the jury isn't random! it's "picked" - in fact, it's carefully constructed; in such high-profile case, there will be "jury consultants" whose sole job is to find which jurors they want to keep and which need to be kicked out. The defense takes out any person who may be prejudiced against the defendent (ie., in all likelihood, anyone knowing a rape victim, perhaps women from Western Africa, francophobes, antisemites, etc) and the DA will take out anyone who seems willing to strongly support the defense (although at this point I'm not sure who it'd be: francophiles? Bankers?) Therefore your presumed newyorkers would likely be kicked out immediately.

DSK may plead that he'd known the maid and had had sex with her each time he was at the Sofitel and he thus assumed it was the same this time around. Still wouldn't be "consent" but might be mitigating?


For lawyers of this caliber to even consider "consent" as a defense, ermmmm. Unless it's a specific request by DSK himself, against his lawyer's advice.
I think the big question right now isn't whether he's totally innocent and will be back soon (as some French supporters foolishly claimed) but whether he wants to plea-bargain for a shorter stint or want to take his chances with a trial, hoping that his "he said/she said" will be enough to convince the one jury he needs to get off.

Anonymous said...

*the one juror
sorry (typing fast)

Cincinna said...

   My tip to the PS : 
      'Stand By Your Man' may have worked for Tammy Wynette and given Hillary Clinton a free ticket to the Senate and State Dept, but it's time to give it up. 
      Defending the indefensible is stupid. In cases like this, C'est mieux de se taire!
      Trashing the American legal system will not help DSK. why not mention the very strong aspects: the right to a speedy trial, the right for due process, the right to a public Jury trial. The right to counsel. 
    
To the totally uninformed, willfully ignorant, former justice minister, Robert Badinter who said:

"Never forget it's not just judges that are elected (in New York), but prosecutors. And the chief of police is elected. 

  Judge Melissa Jackson was appointed to the Criminal Court by Mayor Bloomberg. The case will be heard in NYS Supreme Court where the judges are elected. 
   Yes, the Prosecutor (DA) is elected, and that's a good
thing. If people aren't satisfied with the job they're doing, they can vote them out.
    The Police Commissioner is appointed by the Mayor. Current it
is Ray Kelly who was appointed  in January 2002 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (Republican & Independent),  He
also served as Police Commissioner under Democrat Mayor David N. Dinkins from 1992-1994.
  The office is non partisan and non-political
    










 

Alex Price said...

I am surprised by the negative response in these comments to Jean Daniel's editorial. Setting aside the rhetoric, his main point, as I take it, is that there is something grossly prejudicial about the “perp walk.” This seems to me incontestable. The very name “perp(etrator) walk” indicates the problem: a perpetrator is someone who has committed a crime. To display a suspect in this way, handcuffed and frogmarched, clearly creates an image of guilt that militates against the presumption of innocence – which is exactly what these exhibitions were intended to do by the New York prosecutors who apparently began this tradition. It is a legitimate question as to whether a high-profile suspect can receive a fair trial when jury members have been exposed to these images. I agree also with Jean-Christophe Cambadélis’s remark: "il est des images et des humiliations qui n'étaient pas nécessaires à la manifestation de la vérité" (quoted in the Le Monde article, "DSK : des socialistes dénoncent une justice "inhumaine"). Like most observers, I am assuming now that DSK is guilty as charged. But one can decry his crime and still have compassion for him as well as the victim. One can and should have compassion for both.

Cincinna said...

@Anonymous said:
Consent is the only defense this lawyer, or any lawyer would have in this case. Except a temporary insanity defense, which is very questionable in NY and would be laughed out of Court.
When a defendant hires a lawyer of the caliber of Brafman, the client follows the lawyer's advice.

Anonymous said...

Alex: I agree that the "perp walk" is prejudicial. Actually, if I understand correctly, that was the point - that "priviledged" men couldn't hide behind their white collar exteriors.

You and I can advocate reform on that count.
However, wrt DSK, the fault isn't the NY DA's; right now, it's the law. It's French TV's. Indeed if they found this image so unbearable, they did NOT have to show it.

BTW, a reporter present said that the reporters had been requested by DSK's defense lawyers. The reporter's take is that they hoped to create sympathy for him (it worked).

Cincinna: I disagree. He can also plead "reasonable doubt", can't he? Isn't it how Kobe got off or am I mixing up my celebrity-violence scandals?

But the very fact he's considering "consent" doesn't look very promising for "clearing his name".

meshplate said...

Two worthwhile articles:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/17/dominique-strauss-kahn-french-media

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2011/05/the-perp-walk-is-not-a-french-tradition.html

Mitchell J. Guthman said...

If the report about the victim hiring a lawyer is accurate, it's the first real piece of good news for DSK since this thing broke on Saturday. Suddenly, there what is usually a pretty good avenue of cross-examination and a non speculative motive for a false charge, namely, money. What's more, it arguably opens her up to a much more sweeping cross and it might even make it possible to make headway against the otherwise positive aspects of this woman's life that we've been talking about.

Just hiring a lawyer, especially a specialist in civil litigation, will make her a far less sympathetic figure and might even allow the defense to trash her unmercifully. Right now it is just an opening but if her lawyer even hints at filing a complaint it's quite possibly the key to an acquittal. Just a colossal blunder that the victim (who should have waited before trying to cash in) and by the police and prosecutors who would seem to have lost control of their star witness..

Cincinna said...

@Anonymous re Jury
     The trial will take place in the NY Supreme Court Criminal Term 1st Judicial District NY County
 (Manhattan) @ 100 Center Street
     The Jury pool will be residents of NY County (Manhattan).
There is no reason to fear that DSK will not get a fair trial. If for any reason, there are suspected grounds to doubt that, his attorney can make a motion for a mistrial. Highly unlikely.

      

Anonymous said...

according to her brother, he'd hired her a lawyer he'd found online....(allegedly) at that point, they had no idea the guy was DSK and they wanted someone to prosecute for rape. Apparently they had no idea there'd be a media circus. So, apparently, they ditched the first lawyer and took on a more prominent one, but remember, those are immigrants, they may not realize that hiring a specialist in civil litigation isn't the same thing as hiring a prominent lawyer, period. They may have hired him for that trial, not a civil case, and if that lawyer is pro bono they may not be choosy. A maid can't be making tons of money...
I would hope she'd be better advised about her choices, but is the NYPD even allowed to give advice in such matters?

However, I don't see why "just hiring a lawyer" is indicative of intent to deceive. If I (or anyone) I know were raped, you can be sure we'd hire a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Cincinna, does it mean only people from Manhattan can be on the jury?

Anonymous said...

from Myos:
http://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/170511/strauss-kahn-legal-move-ban-sickening-custody-pictures

Cincinna said...

@Anonymous
Yes; the Jury pool is taken from registered voter lists in NY County.
Every day, hundreds of people receive their notice to report for Jury duty. Almost nobody is excused. IIRC Mayor Bloomberg reported for Jury duty last year. You can serve as often as you are called, but only must serve every 6 years. The Jurors are paid $40/day.
When the case is called, either for Grand Jury or Trial, the Clerk of the Court will go into the huge auditorium where potential Jurors are seated, and where they wait....and wait. They are sent to a room
in groups where they fill out a questionnaire. The actual Jury selection is a formal procedure in Court. Both sides have a chance to question the prospective Juror. Each
side is allowed a certain number of pre-emptory challenges, in which they can reject a Juror without a reason.

On a case like this Jury selection can take days or weeks.

meshplate said...

It just dawned on me what consensual means in the mind of DSK.

Sex is consensual when he wants it. So naturally in this case it was consensual sex.

He wanted it, he got it, therefore it was consensual!

Voila QED.

Cincinna said...

@Anonymous
re: Pleading:
There are only two choices 'guilty' or 'not guilty'
Your Theory of Defense is completely different. No matter what, the Defense Attorney's job is to place ' reasonable doubt' in the mind of the Jurors. Remember that he must be found 'guilty beyond reasonable doubt' I.e. what the average person would find reasonable.
The theory of Defense may be consent, "I was in Chicago" " it wasn't me, just somebody who looks like me"
"Someone put something in my drink" "The Devil made me do it" Lawyers have heard it all before.
All this to plant reasonable doubt in the mind of the Jury that this particular Defendant committed the crimes outlined in the Indictment, which will be handed up by a Grand Jury.

Anonymous said...

from Myos:
the NYT has a story about the defense claiming consensual sex, with several details.
The lawyer (Shapiro) does seem to be the guy hired 'off the internet' by the woman's brother.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/18/nyregion/strauss-kahn-may-claim-consensual-sex-as-defense.html?hp
They say delicately that she's illiterate ("without any formal education"), hence a claim by the Figaro that she knew who he was because of an announcement poster in the staff changing rooms falls apart.
She's also religious, which should be a + for her (unlike in France).

meshplate said...

Listening to the BBC World Service:

Geithner calls for DSK to be replaced at the IMF

DSK on suicide watch at Rikers

And victim's lawyer gives an interview refuting the notion that there was anything consensual that took place between his client and dsk.

Concinna said...

@All 
  re: Alleged Victim's Attorney

  It is not at all prejudicial for her to hire a lawyer. She will be required to give testimony in Court and submit to intense interrogation by DSK lawyer. She absolutely must, have a lawyer present to protect her rights. 

  Her lawyer is  Jeffrey B Shapiro
Quite an impressive resume.
Jeffrey B. Shapiro is a partner and head of the Miami and Fort Lauderdale offices of Arnstein & Lehr LLP.  A nationally acclaimed trial attorney, Mr. Shapiro has served as lead  counsel in handling trials and arbitrations involving products, medical devices and drugs with extensive expertise in commercial litigation matters on behalf of major domestic and foreign companies. During the past several years, in connection with the representation of his clients, Mr. Shapiro has appeared in various state and federal courts and been involved both regionally and nationally in multi-district litigation, and “global settlement strategies.”

Professional Activities and Achievements

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Shapiro worked from 1976 to 1979 as an assistant district attorney in New York, serving as the lead attorney in numerous felony trials involving crimes ranging from white collar matters to acts of violence. Mr. Shapiro has spoken and written on numerous topics, including the best method to approach “repetitive” litigation involving the same product, both in the context of multiple state lawsuits and class actions, CAFA 2005, spoliation of evidence and federal premption.

He is the chairperson of the Medical Device and Drug committee of the International Lawyers Network, a member of the Defense Research Institute, as well as the American, Florida, and Dade County Bar Associations.  Additionally, Mr. Shapiro was the chairperson of the Audit and Inspector General Selection Committees for the Miami-Dade Public School System for four years. He continues to serve as a member of the committee.

Education

New York University (L.L.M., 1979)
St. John’s University (J.D., 1976)
Queens College of the City of New York (B.A., cum laude, 1973)

Bar admissions

State of Florida
U.S. District Court for the Middle, Northern, and Southern 
Districts of Florida
State of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court

Mitch Guthman said...

I would just like to clarify (or maybe just expand upon) my earlier analysis of why the hiring of the civil lawyer is a blessing for the defense and, arguably, makes consent (as part of a set up) considerably more viable then it was before he came on the scene.

In my mind, the hiring of a civil lawyer is problematic (and the filing of an actual lawsuit arguably fatal) because will allow the defense to argue that the victim has a huge incentive to lie. If DSK is convicted, her civil lawsuit will be a slam dunk and she will be rich, so one can argue that she now has a financial stake in the outcome of the trial.

If the NYPD and the district attorney can’t head off the filing of a lawsuit by her civil lawyer, I think it will basically drive a stake through the heart of the prosecution's case in other ways, too. It will allow the defense to paint the victim, rightly or wrongly, as a predatory woman decided to get rich by falsely accusing a rich and famous man of rape. Right now, one of the real weakness in DSK’s defense (no matter what it turns out to be) is that the hotel maid’s clothing is supposedly torn and she herself has “minor injuries” (cuts and bruises) and that is difficult for DSK to explain. After all, why would she lie? Why would she do this to herself? A lawsuit (or even the hiring of a lawyer---if she doesn’t want to sue eventually, why hire him at all?) can be used by the defense to explain away this and many other problems. The possibilities for impeachment are quite literally endless and apply to almost any argument or evidence offered by the prosecution. In a word, money explains it all. Every other word out of the defense lawyer's mouth will be “money!"

All of a sudden it’s back to “he said, she said” except that this time she’s arguable got the best reason in the world to lie her head off---she wants to be rich. Money, money, money. Sounds risible based on what we know about the victim but if she did hire a lawyer (and especially if he’s stupid enough to file a lawsuit), I promise you a good defense lawyer will hammer home the theme “money, money, money” constantly. He will make her the predator, and argue that DSK was her prey. The defense will take every opportunity to point out that if DSK’s convicted, she will be rich. If he’s acquitted she won’t get a dime from him.


Another advantage: Arguing that DSK was set up no longer requires a leap into tinfoil hat land in which the defense absurdly points the finger at Sarko. There’s now a new, much more plausible villain to hand. The fact that the victim stands to profit hugely if DSK is convicted gives her a very tasty motive to set him up. Money, money, money. Every NYPD witness will have to acknowledge that there is a genuine risk of people setting up or blackmailing celebrities and rich people. There was that David Letterman case and several others. Mightn't the alleged victim have gotten the idea from reading about those cases?

If you don’t think I’m right, just wrap your mind around how the victim’s testimony is going to play out. Right now, she’s a poor but pious immigrant doing a dirty, menial job to support her family. She’s basically a good person who is getting nothing out of this except a lot of grief and notoriety she doesn’t want. And you can be sure that she will end her direct by saying something like: “I just want justice for myself and all other women”. But if the defense has done a good job of trashing her, the jurors will be thinking “yes, right. Justice and, of course, the umpteen million dollars she’s trying to squeeze out of the defendant”.

I really think this was a stupid mistake. I’ve been plenty wrong about this case before (whole thing's been like a roller-coaster ride since Saturday) but I really do think this is a huge opportunity for DSK’s defense and they can do a lot of damage to the prosecution case if that exploit it correctly. He's still behind the 8 ball, but at least now he got a real fighting chance at trial where before he had none.

Cincinna said...

e@Anon, Myos
    These elitists are never going to learn. Their smug superiority and arrogance is already bringing down their house of cards. 
    "No formal education" does not mean  illiterate. Illiterate is the inability to read and write. If someone is illiterate they could not work as a chambermaid in a fancy hotel. The job imvolves reading signs left on doors like "DO NOT DISTURB" ( there was none on DSK's door) cleaning product labels, and supervisor's instructions. 
   Most of the people working at restaurants and hotels in NYC are recent immigrants from Latin America, Asia, or Africa, with little or no formal education. 
    The French Press has handled this disgracefully. They have little or no understanding of America, the American way of life aside from stereotypes. For them America is Alabama ca 1955. 
    They are projecting their Parisian smug superiority and elitism onto  a NY that is multi-cultural and fier de l'etre.
  First rule of Common Sense: 
  When in a hole, stop digging!

Christelle Nadia said...

Wow ! I stunned by the fact that some don't realize how difficylt sex crimes are for the person who dares to accuse powerful men?
You can't slap around the victim? Really? Oh right the great lawyers are thinking about pleading consent because they are amateurs! Come on people Dsk and the presumed victim do not start on equal footing. I will say it again this woman is going to go through hell. Anybody who knows anything about the law know that trial more often than not when the issue is consent, when the accused has the means and stature beces about the vjctim amd her credibility.

Cincinna said...

@Steven Rendall

Thanks for the heads up. I did see this:
http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/actualite/l-affaire-dsk/20110517.OBS3339/affaire-strauss-kahn-encore-un-mot-d-urgence.html

  I think this commentary sums up the difference between the elite journalists in Paris, and most Americans.
  To the American justice system, Monsieur Strauss-Kahn IS just a man like any other. We are all equal before the Law. 

"L’égalité ? Tous les acteurs élus de cette cérémonie - car ils sont tous élus, la juge comme les policiers - savaient que Strauss-Kahn n’était pas un homme comme les autres..."
  A correction of fact for the ignorant man who wrote this: the Judge, Melissa Jackson, was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg in 2002. The Police, including Police Commissioner Ray Kelly are not elected. Kelly was appointed by Mayors Bloomberg and Dinkins. His integrity has never been called into question. He is held up as the model for the ideal big city Police Commissioner. 

Cincinna said...

@Cristelle
The woman in question is indeed very courageous. She will be investigated and interrogated; her life will be changed forever.
That being said, sex crime cases are not difficult to prove, especially when the parties are total strangers. A consent defense in this case will be almost impossible to prove.
The key lies in the forensics. The body never lies; the body tells the tale. From the gravity of the charges, and the details in the Complaint, odds are there is a whole lot of forensic evidence - void, bodily fluids, scratch marks, fingernail scrapings.
As we speak, a Grand Jury has been convened, and will hear the evidence in secret. If they find that a crime has indeed been committed, and that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial, they will send up an indictment.
This must happen by Friday, May 20, or DSK must be set free. That's the Law for everyone, DSK inclus.

Anonymous said...

@Christelle and @Mitchell -- because everyone knows that rape victims go through hell (as anyone who watches LAW and ORDER SVU could tell you), no one will bat an eye at the victim hiring a lawter...

Of course she should hire a lawyer... no one would question a victim for hiring someone to protect her during the grueling process of the trial

And if she sues when this is all over, more power to her... she deserves a pay day after what happened -- I think this is what a jury will think

Hiring a lawyer is no "stake through the heart" of the prosecution... It's the "American Way" (I think Tocqueville talked about all the lawyyers)

Cincinna said...

  Since there seems to be a great deal of interest in the American Legal system and the NYPD, I would highly recommend the TV series Law and Order 1990-2010. Brilliantly written, directed, and acted, the earlier shows are the best, IMO. Available on DVD. I don't know if it was ever shown in France, but it was the most highly rated drama series, and tied with Gunsmoke as the longest running series. 
  The episodes take place in NYC, in the streets, in the courtroom, in housing projects and East Side mansions. Episodes are in two parts; first, the crime, the police work, the action. Then the Law, the Courtroom part, with Juries, trial, and conviction or not. 
  The DSK case is like an episode straight out of Law and Order. In the many episodes involving the rich and powerful, the rich powerful guy almost always gets convicted. 
   Another great resource is Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. A story about a high living rich powerful finance guy living in a Park Avenue 15 room duplex who commits a murder in Harlem and winds up going through the Police and Legal system in NYC of the early 80's. It's a great read, and a great American novel by an outstanding writer. 
  For purposes of full disclosure, I worked as a legal consultant on some episodes of Law and Order.

Cincinna said...

@Mitch Cristelle ALL

@All 
  re: Alleged Victim's Attorney
Jeffrey Shapiro is NOT a Civil Lawyer, He is a former Manhattan ADA specializing in prosecuting sex crimes and violent crimes.
If there is a Civil Trial, it will have to wait until DSK's trial is over, and he is either convicted, and run through all his appeals, or found not guilty. There is a long way to go

  It is not at all prejudicial for her to hire a lawyer. She will be required to give testimony in Court and submit to intense interrogation by DSK lawyer. She absolutely must, have a lawyer present to protect her rights. 

  Her lawyer is  Jeffrey B Shapiro

Jeffrey B. Shapiro is a partner and head of the Miami and Fort Lauderdale offices of Arnstein & Lehr LLP.  A nationally acclaimed trial attorney, Mr. Shapiro has served as lead  counsel in handling trials and arbitrations involving products, medical devices and drugs with extensive expertise in commercial litigation matters on behalf of major domestic and foreign companies. During the past several years, in connection with the representation of his clients, Mr. Shapiro has appeared in various state and federal courts and been involved both regionally and nationally in multi-district litigation, and “global settlement strategies.”

Professional Activities and Achievements

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Shapiro worked from 1976 to 1979 as an assistant district attorney in New York, serving as the lead attorney in numerous felony trials involving crimes ranging from white collar matters to acts of violence. Mr. Shapiro has spoken and written on numerous topics, including the best method to approach “repetitive” litigation involving the same product, both in the context of multiple state lawsuits and class actions, CAFA 2005, spoliation of evidence and federal premption.

He is the chairperson of the Medical Device and Drug committee of the International Lawyers Network, a member of the Defense Research Institute, as well as the American, Florida, and Dade County Bar Associations.  Additionally, Mr. Shapiro was the chairperson of the Audit and Inspector General Selection Committees for the Miami-Dade Public School System for four years. He continues to serve as a member of the committee.

Education

New York University (L.L.M., 1979)
St. John’s University (J.D., 1976)
Queens College of the City of New York (B.A., cum laude, 1973)

Bar admissions

State of Florida
U.S. District Court for the Middle, Northern, and Southern 
Districts of Florida
State of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court

Mitch Guthman said...

@ Anonymous,

I think you’re missing my point. When you talk about having a lawyer "representing her interests" I have to ask, what exactly are those interest that require a lawyer's protection? Most peoples' thoughts upon hearing someone talking about "legal interests" naturally turn to winning the lawsuit jackpot. In other words, the assumption, fair or unfair, is going to be that she's planning to sue DSK and become rich. Probably not a bad idea and if I was in her situation I'd be looking to make some money too (I am a lawyer, after all). I just wouldn't tell the world about my plans until after DSK was safely convicted and his lawyers were no longer looking for things to destroy my credibility. Just saying.

One of the major hurdles that DSK would have to overcome if he went to trial is the simple fact that this woman has no known reason to falsely accuse him. This is the most important fact in this case. It is the one thing that DSK's high priced legal talent hasn't been able to get around and my guess is it's why they appear to be floundering at this moment. Unlike, your basic “he said, she said” case where there’s often a cloud of ambiguity about motives or misunderstandings and the truth often blurs into shades of grey, this charge is presents a stark contrast between two competing versions of reality---only one of which can possibly be true. If the hotel maid is telling the truth about what happened, then DSK is a man who lay in wait for a vulnerable woman and viciously attacked her.

DSK’s problem, then, is that it’s his word against hers and, objectively viewed, her word is probably better than his. She has nothing to gain and no reason to make up such an absurd story. If she had no reason to lie in the initial report and no reason to testify falsely at trial, then she probably isn’t lying which means that DSK must be guilty.

By hiring a lawyer to “represent her interests” she hands the defense a powerful weapon because she now, arguably, has a tremendous stake in the outcome of the trial. If DSK is convicted, her lawsuit will make her rich beyond her wildest dreams. But if he’s acquitted, she will probably always be poor and relegated to a hard life of menial employment for low wages.

The defense will be free to imply that she’s got a motive to testify falsely (which she didn’t have before hiring a lawyer), and probably they will go a good deal further. If she’s in line for a huge financial settlement (perhaps millions) they will be able to say that when she saw this rich silly, pompous old man, she decided he was her ticket to the good life. The very things which made her such an appealing victim (and so difficult to attack) now are a motive to deliberate set out to falsely accuse DSK of rape in order to collect a windfall legal settlement so that she would be rich. She is young, poor and a single parent. She constantly struggles financially. She works at a menial, physically demanding job for low wages. Now, as a victim with nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming forward she is brave, noble and selfless. But as someone who’s obviously thinking about getting a big payout in a lawsuit, she might not look quite so noble. And if the defense can get the jury to see her not as a victim of sexual assault but as an opportunistic, money-hungry shrew ruthlessly seizing the main chance by plotting to falsely accuse a man of the charge which is “so easy to make and so difficult to disprove” they will have gone a long way towards explaining to the jury why she might be lying and changing the dynamics of the trial to blunt her testimony, create reasonable doubt about the time of the attempted rape, and explain away any unhelpful physical evidence.

That’s why I think it was a terrible mistake for her to hire a lawyer and I only hope that she doesn't compound it by letting the idiot lawyer spout off about ever filing a civil suit.

meshplate said...

Cute twist on the perp walk, the red carpet walk at Cannes and Polanski from Jim Dwyer at the NY Times:

"The news from France is that many are appalled that Mr. Strauss-Kahn was paraded on the classic perp walk, so he could be photographed in handcuffs. The custom is indisputably unfair to people charged with crimes. The only thing comparable in France might take place annually in Cannes.

Year after year, the director Roman Polanski strolled the red carpet, smiling for the cameras, apparently unworried — and rightly so — that the French authorities would notice that he was a fugitive from justice in Los Angeles, where he had drugged, raped and sodomized a 13-year-old girl. The parallel was striking, a prosecutor said Monday. Mr. Polanski, who took his version of the perp walk as a guilty man, lowered the odds that Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who took his while presumed innocent, will get bail in New York any time soon."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/18/nyregion/strauss-kahns-hotel-key-may-tell-tale-in-sex-case.html?_r=1&hp

Chistelle Nadia said...

Dear Mitch, are you being serious? This woman needs a lawyer at the very least to protect her strongly against the media and others who are going to investigate her life. She needs protection and the DA can't do that. Hiring a lawyer doesn't mean that you have something to hide or that you are up to no good, but that you know the system and that victims or 'accusers' need as much protection as they ca afford to have. Very few people can face this ordeal alone, without somebody on their side to protect their interests against the mob who is trying to figure out who is the woman who bought down the head of the IMF.Think about it, the woman lives in the Bronx, she is a maid, she isn't 'American', you are going to tell her facte this on your own? Really just google what usually happens in these cases to the woman who says 'something happened to me' even where there is physical evidence.
That said I hope she got a good lawyer and not somebody her brother hired through the internet.

Cincinna said...

@Mitch
Are you a lawyer in the US?
The woman must have a lawyer to protect her legal rights as a Plaintif and witness in a Felony Criminal Trial. She will be questioned by Police, by the Prosecution, and at trial, be examined and cross examined. She needs an Attorney to advise her of her rights during testimony, in fact to prepare her for testimony and cross. If she didn't engage her own Counsel, the Court would appoint one for her.
No one will even note the fact that she has Counsel. It would be bizarre if she didnt. This is the American legal system, and she is entitled to pursue DSK in a Civil suit even if he wins the Criminal case. Remember OJ? He was found not guilty in the murder trial, but was found guilty in the civil case against him brought by the families of the victims.

Cincinna said...

@ALL
re:French media and politicos trashing US justice system over treatment of DSK:

If the French really believed the images were so disgusting, humiliating and depriving DSK of his humanity and dignity, why did they splash them across the front page of every newspaper and magazine in France?

meshplate said...

57%! 57%!!! think that DSK was set up. Good grief.

Is it any wonder that France is in trouble? That BHL is is its moral spokesman and even amongst its leftist politicians you are hard pressed to find an ounce of probity?

This level of denial is flabbergasting.

Maybe we should refer to the "allegedly great nation of France" from now on?

See Libé : http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/01012338057-57-des-francais-pensent-que-dsk-est-victime-d-un-complot-selon-un-sondage

Mitch Guthman said...

@ Cincinna,

I am a former prosecutor and defense lawyer, so I know how I did things and I have a pretty good idea about how other offices did them. Here is why I don’t think she should have a private lawyer:

1. The one interest which she isn’t supposed to have is a financial interest in a guilty verdict. She just needs to show up and testify and, ideally, not do anything between now and the trial to jeopardize her credibility. Cincinna, you are wrong that nobody will know that she has her own lawyer---it will quite probably be the main topic of her cross examination if the defense follows the path I have outlined.

2. The idea that their victim/star witness has hired a spokesperson must be filling the police and prosecutors with dread. The best thing she can do is to keep her mouth shut and not provide the defense with any ammunition for impeaching her. She doesn't need a spokesperson and he can only harm the prosecution’s case because the defense will try to impute what he says to his client as admissions and they will cry to the judge that the prosecution is acting unethically and violating the rules of professional conduct every time her lawyer opens his mouth.

3. She does not need a lawyer to represent her interests during the trial (whatever they might be) because, please God, she is not testifying under an immunity letter and I don’t see any potential that she has 5th Amendment issue to worry about. (The court will only appoint counsel to a witness if he or she is given a 5th Amendment warning and does not have or can’t afford her own lawyer). She isn’t being questioned as a suspect and, anyway, by this point they are stuck with her and will be closing ranks around her. Unless she really did set DSK up as part of a blackmail scheme, she has nothing to fear from anybody at the prosecution table.

And, just at the most basic level, the prosecutors really don’t want anybody second guessing them or getting in between them and the victim. If there are legal issues about her sexual history, medical records, anything related to the trial will be done by the prosecutors and only by the prosecutors. If they feel she needs a private lawyer to resist a subpoena, they’ll find somebody who will know what needs to be done without being told and without endangering their case. There is simply no role in this trial for her private lawyer except that of spoiler.

4. She does not need a lawyer to do any of the many other things you have both suggested because from now on the district attorney’s office will take care of every problem in her life and, I can assure you, there is nothing that a private lawyer can do for her that can’t be done far better by the prosecutors. Taking care of victims and other witnesses is the thing that’s drilled into most ADA’s on their very first day. In most offices, it’s like a religion. If her bosses are unhappy with her bringing bad publicity to their hotel or they balk at paying her for the amount of time she needs to take off to testify and meet with prosecutors, the DA and the police are very experienced at dealing with these sorts of problems. Take my word for it, a visit from an ADA is a big deal for most people. ADA’s and cops carry power in a place like New York and every high level prosecution has at least one person who gets things done (and they know how to do it without creating either Brady or impeachment material).

5. She absolutely, positively does not need her own lawyer to prepare her to testify. No trial lawyer worth his or her salt would ever allow anybody else to prepare his star witness to testify. She will be prepared by the ADA who will be doing her direct and only by that person.

MYOS said...

Cincinna, 3:40 am: +100
they're being hypocrites.

Mitch: I think a key point here is that she's an immigrant who speaks little English. She probably knows NOTHING of all these details. She probably has no idea what the difference is between the different types of lawyers. Whatever she may know about law probably comes from TV and in all cases someone hires a lawyer. It makes sense - in fact, look at the reactions here, people who are bicultural and bilingual and still can't see what you mean.
Mitch, what you're saying is that the ADA will be her lawyer, in effect, so she didn't need to hire one. But how was she supposed to know?
It feels really counter-intuitive to me. I certainly wouldn't have bet on it.

Cincinna: I don't think they're being elitist.
The Figaro claims that the woman knew who her attacker was because of a poster (they interviewed a maid who said the hotel had placed a poster in the staff room). The brother and the woman's lawyer claim all she knew was that he was some rich guy (which you'd assume for a $3,000/night suite!) and had no idea who strauss kahn was - something I find believable. If you asked a maid in a Paris hotel who the WTO chief is and what he looks like, what result would you get? (In fact, ask any French person, odds are they have no clue.)

MYOS said...

Cool, blogger recognizes me again and I stop being anonymous#450!

I used the WTO as an example, BTW, because now everyone knows who the IMF chief is. :) In fact I head young kids trying to make sense of it on the bus ("why would he rape a woman when he can buy one?"... gah.)

Mitch Guthman said...

@ Chistelle Nadia,

I’m very serious and I know my business. Nobody can really protect her from the media at this point and, frankly, I don’t know what her lawyer can do for her except to provide the defense with a steady stream of impeachment material and grounds for all kinds of discovery and procedural motions which the prosecutors cannot be looking forward to.

At a more basic and personal level, she won’t be facing the ordeal alone. This is a very high profile prosecution and the police and district attorney will use as much manpower as necessary to make sure things go smoothly for her. The ADA’s working this case won’t be ones who just got promoted out of night court and are handling dozens of cases. I’m sure they will be top people who are very good at their jobs. The biggest case of their lives (and maybe their careers, too) will be riding on her. They need her to be a good witness who will testify well and they will do everything possible to insulate her from unpleasantness. You should have no doubt about that. She will probably have a babysitter from either the sex crimes unit or a DA investigator looking after her every need and reassuring her at every step of the way.

And I can tell you from personal experience that the types of police and ADA’s who are going to be running a high powered case like this will take very good care of this lady. Very good care indeed. No private lawyer, not even a top level fixer, can do the things for her that these people can do. ADA’s and cops carry way more power than you think and usually have much more access to people, favors and other problem solving resources than you might expect, especially those at the higher levels.

Please believe me, there is nobody in New York City better motived or better equipped to look out for this lady than the cops and the ADA’s who will be in charge of this case.

Alex Price said...

Regarding the 57% who profess to believe in a set up…

If, like me, you counted yourself a fan of DSK, this is not a happy moment. Imagine you’re a socialist militant and were planning to work for him in the upcoming primary. Think how you would feel. (Le Monde has an article, Pour les militants PS, ‘une douche froide,’ that paints a pretty vivid picture.) Denial is said to be one of the stages of grief. If DSK wasn't set up, he is almost certainly guilty, so if you don't want to believe in his guilt, you have to opt for the set up. Everyone has been shocked, stunned, astonished and so on by this business. It was a bombe politique, un coup de tonnerre, un séisme, un tsunami, un choc terrible. But all this violent language, which is really just a pile of clichés, works to obscure the real pain and confusion ordinary people may feel when their hero has suddenly been cut down. This is why I find indignant expressions along the lines of “What about the victim? Why is no one mentioning the victim?” somewhat disingenuous. Of course no one is thinking about the victim, at least not at first. They’re thinking about the one they know and care about. Criticizing BHL’s predictably over-the-top defense of DSK today, Andrew Sullivan cites it as an example of the self-absorbed elite closing ranks around one of their own. But class has nothing to do with it. The families of murderers may be horrified by the crime, but the real punch in the gut comes from knowing that it was *their boy* who did it.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Bravo, Alex. Well said.