Sunday, May 15, 2011

Legal Analysis



Kirk said...

One interesting question is whether, assuming he is allowed to remain free on bail, he'll be able to leave the country. Given that these are felony charges, I highly doubt it. That alone would be the end of his presidential candidacy, even if the mere accusation doesn't kill it.

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt it too, Kirk, especially since he's a high flight risk. I assume he'll have to pay bail AND surrender his passport during his arraignment.

In the article Art linked to, I found the conclusion representative of the French mindset and differences with the US:
En tout état de cause, sauf l’hypothèse d’une affabulation complète de son accusatrice, Dominique Strauss-Kahn va passer un mauvais moment devant la justice américaine. Il n’est pas en effet dans ses habitude de ménager les puissants


Anonymous said...

Tapie quoted in Libération:

"Bernard Tapie s'est exprimé sur BFM TV. L'ancien ministre estime que DSK «est très intelligent, il connaît le droit, et aux Etats-Unis commencer par dire qu’il ne reconnaît pas du tout les faits et plaider non coupable, il sait parfaitement que si c’était pas vrai ça aggraverait son cas»."

No way. Everyone pleads not guilty. That doesn't change the case one iota. It simply allows a lawyer time to work with the defendant. I see Tapie is a legal expert now...

Anonymous said...

Whaaat?? Tapie's full of crap. In cases of he said/she said, everyone pleads not guilty, it's a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching BFM and the journalist sent to NY is amazed that Americans are shocked. He makes parrallels with Clinton/Monica Lewinsky.

He underscores the fact he's going to be auditioned "like everybody else".

Olivier Mazerolles states that even though the French don't care about politicians (hommes politiques, I note not "responsables politiques") sleeping around, they wouldn't accept a convicted rapist as a presidential candidate.
Because that was a question???

He states that the concept of rape as a crime is fairly recent in France, that for a long time it was all hush-hush. So perhaps DSK is clueless he did anything wrong, is that the subtext?

Anonymous said...

I wish some female politicians or journalists had the balls to contest this sort of comment. Reading different web sites, it seems as though it's becoming the dominant narrative (other than "wait and see").

jules said...

Myos, said : "In the article Art linked to, I found the conclusion representative of the French mindset and differences with the US:"

And why is that ?

meshplate said...

Rape has been a crime in France since 1810, so anyone born before that should be let off because of ignorance of the law, is that it. DSK is old but not that old!

Anonymous said...

jules: because it's astounding that so many French journalists sound amazed DSK is treated like a regular citizen, that he has to stay in the police station, that he'll have to walk in front of the police, that he may have to pay a large bail, that he would have to wait on a bench before his turn...
The feeling has been expressed many many times.


Cincinna said...

In NYS there are two ways to plead: guilty or not guilty.
If you plead "not guilty" you have the the right to a trial and a chance to plead Your case before a Jury. If you plead "guilty" you are are remanded to custody. You will then be hauled in front of a Judge who will require you to admit to the facts of every count of the indictment. You may be able to cut a deal (plea bargain) with the DA. You will be sentenced to prison on the spot, and go directly to jail.
Tapie is an idiot and should stick to his specialty, l'escroquerie , and remain silent on American criminal law.

jules said...


Indeed, but I still don't understand hwo representative my conclusion can be, within this regard.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jules,
Sorry if I'm not clear. I meant to say that your conclusion was good at pointing out some salient points that come up in many, many tv interviews in France but don't seem to come up at all in American articles, be they the NYT or the NY Post. Since some comments seemed to come up again and again in French news sources and not in American news sources, I must assume they were linked to elements or ways of thinking that differ depending on culture. I now use the past tense because things have changed since 1pm, both in style and in substance, the news sources have beefed up their coverage (iTélé is basically DSK TV right now, and 30 whole minutes from the F2 news were dedicated to DSK.)

The plaintiff may have lied and may be into a big payoff or she may tell the truth - but whether DSK pays her to keep quiet (whether he did or didn't assault her but doesn't want to deal with a trial) or goes to trial, his presidential run is over. And if he did do it, he's looking at 25 years in prison. If the maid lied, she's looking at jailtime too for false accusation etc.

One thing I find intriguing is the Tristane Banon case: it was revealed in 2007 so no "conspiracy" (IMF or primary-related) can be alledged. When the story was told, the politician's name was bleeped so that no one could compplain but people in the talk show could hear the name fine. The young woman decided not to sue because DSK's daughter was her best friend and because her mother (a friend of DSK's) asked her not to. The mother now regrets it because her daughter has been plagued with problems since then. She testified she found her daughter curled up inside her car, her jeans zipper torn off and her heels broken, and that a lawyer was aware of the case and had collected evidence. The young woman will hold a press conference soon and may press charges as the statute of limitation has not run out - she may do so now, in part because she's older, and in part because she feels she should have done it earlier and stopped this current assault.
All of this is speculative but it's hard to see why a friend of DSK's would make that up. Especially since she brought it up in 2007, not today.
Of course, DSK may be guilty for the Tristane Banon thing and be innocent for the Sofitel alledged assault.

BTW, Art, if you think the comments here are peremptory etc, watch iTélé. It's even a bit bizarre the way they assert things. The journalists are now doing a good job and are no longer trying to use understatements to explain why DSK is being investigated, but many pundits are ... strange. Of course, since almost nothing is known, you gotta feel for them, this may be why they go on tangents about psychology or American law or "the DSK we know and love" or even the conspiracy.
The biographer who states DSK can't be a rapist since he's a grandfather and can "have" any woman he wants is bizarre in my opinion.
As is DSk's right-hand woman and Ile de France deputy who claims "international conspiracy".
The pundit (BRP) who pretty much says that it's either DSK or chaos is slightly exagerating, perhaps?


Anonymous said...

@Jules: shoot, it looks like my previous reply got lost on the internets...
I'm sorry I wasn't clear.
First, let me state I don't think you advocate different treatment, but did a great job pointing this out when in many cases in French comments it remains an assumption.
Essentially, I think that your conclusion underscores key points very synthetically and it's interesting that I haven't heard/read from Americans the same thing as you wrote. Unlike other comments you took the topic head-on when many others tend to skirt around it. When sth permeates the discourse in one country but doesn't in another, it stands to reason it is related to ways of thinking. (I may be wrong and I realize that it may only be journalists' way of thinking. :p)
Here, you pointed out that the American justice system does not "favor" the powerful, with the implied indication that at times the French system does. Based on this Sunday's reactions, French pundits aren't that reflexive though and some have blasted said American justice system. But overall I haven't heard or read a single American comment indicating that the justice system should take special measures wrt DSK and as such I believe that you've hit on one interesting difference between journalists' mindsets (what is expected from the justice system when it deals with a man of some stature). I may be wrong!

Again this morning I was surprised to hear Manuel Valls say that putting cuffs (in the back, not the front) on DSK was "INSOUTENABLE". DSK is accused of committing a violent crime; when it's a random guy, no one sees anything wrong with his being cuffed. He's been formally identified by the alledged victim. NOT putting the cuffs on someone thus accused would be special treatment; the police do their job. Then it's the journalists' job to blur the face if they really think it's prejudicial that he's shown in cuffs.
But Manuel Valls clearly indicates that to him someone of DSK's stature should not be cuffed, should be treated differently, and that he totally didn't expect to see such an image, that it was violence to him.
I suppose one could say DSK's MORE deserving of respect than the average person due to his service. That's a reason I could get behind but so far I haven't heard it in France. It's a little as if by nature DSK's status should protect him from some things. Let me specify that I really don't think an American politician would be treated differently from DSK who himself is treated like other suspects. There is no intention to humiliate the great man specifically. As far as I can tell, the DA seems aware that DSK isn't a "typical" perp and some steps have been taken to avoid too much public scrutiny as with high-profile cases - for example he was ushered in from a garage - but they can't make exceptions to the law for him.

One can argue that when a man accused of a violent crime but who is calm, collected, non-threatening, is between two police officers, he's not likely to be a danger to himself or others (I really believe so), but then in my opinion it'd require an adjustment in NYS law, not a specific change for DSK.

Some French journalists have gone as far as to suggest that not treating DSK differently is in itself unfair. In that case, they tend to follow that point with an indication that the DA is elected and thus likes to "skewer" a high-profile personality since it'll look good for his/her re-election.

Anonymous said...

(Myos, who forgot to sign above, sorry)

Jules said...


Well, ok then. ;-)

By the way, you certainly will be very interested by BHL's (Bernard Henri Levy) opinion, who strongly stands for DSK.