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June 30, 2011 7:50 PM   Subscribe

Blockbuster: DSK may be freed Friday as the rape case against him collapses The NYT reports prosecutors found the chambermaid was involved with drug dealers, possible extortion. previously
posted by CunningLinguist (337 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
But while there seem to be questions surrounding her background, I'm not reading anything about the facts about the incident itself being in dispute. Let's not forget that.
posted by inturnaround at 7:55 PM on June 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


I understand the alleged victim has been caught in many lies by investigators although there is indisputable evidence that sexual contact occurred. What a shame that this guy lost his lofty position in the world all because he wanted to get some strange.
posted by Renoroc at 7:56 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Holy shit.
posted by LarryC at 7:56 PM on June 30, 2011


I'm not reading anything about the facts about the incident itself being in dispute.

There is clear evidence that there was a sexual encounter. There is no evidence that it was non-consensual except the accuser's testimony. The fact that over two years she received $100,000 from a drug syndicate, a member of which she called on the day of the alleged incident, and that she told police she had one cell phone when in fact she had five... that is too much of a coincidence for me. Of all the maids in the world it was this one. I believe this is a set-up, and if so I hope the guy gets his job back, unlikely as that seems.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:00 PM on June 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


Too bad the US media was all too ready to jump all over him and destroy his reputation.
posted by shivohum at 8:02 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Brace for major I Told You Sos from those who insisted it was a set up all along.

"je vous l'ais dit!"
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:03 PM on June 30, 2011


It's worth mentioning that nearly everyone predicted that this man would be the next President of France.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:04 PM on June 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is being assanged the new political attack?
posted by CarlRossi at 8:09 PM on June 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


I wonder how this'll effect his disposition towards the U.S. were he yet still elected president of France. lol
posted by jeffburdges at 8:11 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please please please let this not make it any harder for victims of rape to come forward and prosecute their rapists. PLEASE!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:11 PM on June 30, 2011 [35 favorites]


Too bad the US media was all too ready to jump all over him and destroy his reputation.

I don't know what you are referring to - all the reports I heard were very factual. Should newspapers not report on arrests if a famous person is involved? Maybe the police shouldn't investigate allegations against famous people - it may destroy their reputation with negative publicity.
posted by muddgirl at 8:11 PM on June 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


What a shame that this guy lost his lofty position in the world all because he wanted to get some strange.

hmmm a guy who was recently critical of US Bankers gets set up by drug dealers? If there were only some connection...
posted by any major dude at 8:13 PM on June 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


Did the police do the wrong thing here? Probably not. The guy was trying to leave the country. She could easily have been telling the truth. I feel like the prosecution of innocent people is an unfortunate but necessary part of life.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:13 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know what you are referring to - all the reports I heard were very factual. Should newspapers not report on arrests if a famous person is involved? Maybe the police shouldn't investigate allegations against famous people - it may destroy their reputation with negative publicity.

In other developed countries, the media is often far more reluctant to name the accused. The norms are different.
posted by shivohum at 8:17 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Being involved in criminal enterprises] ≠ [this was a set-up and it wasn't a genuine assault]

Doesn't look good, though. Making false accusations like that is truly vile.
posted by wowbobwow at 8:24 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this guy has enough money and friends to prove anything. I am not too anxious for his welfare, he doesn't seem like a really nice, innocent guy, caught up in anything. I bet he has a lot of favors he can call in.

She, however, may be a tool for yet another set of villains whose bidding she has no choice but to follow. She may have escaped hell via a devil's bargain. I doubt that a hotel maid just in from Africa, has a lot of 'intelligence community' type savvy. If all of this were true, she would have to be a full fledged operative of some kind. Maybe it is so, but I have my doubts.
posted by Oyéah at 8:25 PM on June 30, 2011


Shit, is this why we do the whole presumption of innocence thing?
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 8:27 PM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, this happened faster than I thought it would. I was sure there would be months of piling on, media speculation, and vilification before everything fell apart.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 8:28 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there anything in this article that suggests her rape claim was a false one? People involved in the drug business can get raped too. And it certainly doesn't seem as if she was a kingpin, more of a safe place to stash the cash for the guys in charge. The only thing that seems incriminating is the phone call to the jailed man, but the story doesn't go into details there. It's not hard to imagine a scenario in which an immigrant involved in laundering drug money would want to consult with their shady partner before saying anything to the police, whether she had actually been raped or not. People involved in criminal activity are naturally hesitant to go to the police, but surely her other illegal activities don't disqualify her from legal protection from rape.

I don't know enough to pass judgment on either party, but unless there is something in this drug business that specifically suggests she fabricated her claim about Strauss-Kahn, it should be ruled irrelevant and dealt with in a separate case.
posted by dadaclonefly at 8:30 PM on June 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


Did the police do the wrong thing here? Probably not.

Parading him around in a perp walk for the sake of the media is a punishment inflicted on the not-yet-convicted, and that is doing the wrong thing.

Note that I said "for the sake of the media", there's a big difference between a jail inmate being photographed when transferred and calling up the media beforehand so they can get a good photo. Not that I think perp walks are an appropriate penalty for the guilty, it's just particularly galling when it's inflicted on the innocent.
posted by BigSky at 8:31 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


She, however, may be a tool for yet another set of villains whose bidding she has no choice but to follow. She may have escaped hell via a devil's bargain. I doubt that a hotel maid just in from Africa, has a lot of 'intelligence community' type savvy.

I love how white liberals never see their view of minorities as perpetual victims as paternalistic and racist.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 8:31 PM on June 30, 2011 [29 favorites]


Is there anything in this article that suggests her rape claim was a false one?

The prosecutors are considering dropping the charges because of credibility issues. The entire case rests on the credibility of the "victim." Did you not RTFA?
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 8:34 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


God what a mess. His lawyers must be pouring champagne today. For those arguing that the issues with her may not obviate the rape, that is true, but her crediblity as a witness is completely out the window, and it seems the prosecutors were relying on it.

Any criminal lawyers up in here? My understanding is that a case like wouldn't last very long in court when the key witness has so many credibility problems. Surely x10 now that it's been leaked everywhere.
posted by smoke at 8:36 PM on June 30, 2011


The district attorney’s office may try to require Mr. Strauss-Kahn to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, but his lawyers are likely to contest such a move.

yeah... I would imagine they would.
posted by Bwithh at 8:36 PM on June 30, 2011


> Is there anything in this article that suggests her rape claim was a false one?

Yes. She allegedly lied repeatedly to police about the events on the day of the rape.

Given that it's his word against hers, if she's proven to have lied about some of the events that day, and if she is in fact a serious criminal who was carrying on criminal business the very day of the alleged rape, then it's inconceivable a jury would convict, I can't imagine a prosecutor even bringing it to court.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:37 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


In fairness to... well, I don't know who, exactly, but offering up "No, he didn't rape her, she's a drug mule acting under instructions from her dealers to set up the next president of France!" is a counter-scenario that we wouldn't have found at all plausible.

To the extent we acknowledged that he might be innocent, we thought there might possibly be some he-said, she-said to the case. This turn of events is just odd.
posted by fatbird at 8:39 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is it just me or is it really unseemly for law enforcement to tell the NYT about her discussion of a previous rape and genital mutilation?
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:40 PM on June 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh sure, because if she just got off the boat from, oh, say Croatia and was working as a maid at a hotel, the white liberals would all assume she had two PhD's and an assload of ninja training.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:41 PM on June 30, 2011 [17 favorites]


Please please please let this not make it any harder for victims of rape to come forward and prosecute their rapists. PLEASE!

Housekeeper vs. Director of the IMF...really?

I see the IMF laughing and raping all night long after hearing DSK's acquittal.

Most of us are serfs, and this is what gets done to serfs.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:45 PM on June 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Brace for major I Told You Sos from those who insisted it was a set up all along."

You mean... ALL OF FRANCE?!
posted by stratastar at 8:46 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


She allegedly lied repeatedly to police about the events on the day of the rape.

Is there some other article that supports this claim? I cannot find anything in this NYT piece to support it.

This piece mentions discrepancies between her account of herself to the investigators and that given in her asylum application; it mentions the issue of her one phone yet multiple phone bill payments; it mentions that she spoke to an alleged drug dealer the day after the incident with DSK.

It does not suggest that she lied to police about events on the day of the rape, neither once nor repeatedly.
posted by motty at 8:48 PM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uh, that should be 'alleged rape', obviously.
posted by motty at 8:49 PM on June 30, 2011


Here's a scenario: he's had relations with her before as a prostitute, he liked her so he secretly arranged her job at this hotel as a sort of on-call screw as he traveled (since he has connections with the hotel through the IMF which paid for it). Her criminal boyfriend finds out about it from jail, and hatches a plan to blackmail DSK asking for a lot of money, DSK balked so she ran out screaming rape (after the tryst) and he skipped town.
posted by stbalbach at 8:53 PM on June 30, 2011


The prosecutors are considering dropping the charges because of credibility issues. The entire case rests on the credibility of the "victim." Did you not RTFA?
"Credibility issues" is about as vague as one can get. That could be used against anyone with a criminal (or "slutty") history in a rape case. I'm just wondering if there is anything that points to her account of this specific event (the alleged rape) as lacking credibility, or whether her other activities are being used to discredit her
Yes. She allegedly lied repeatedly to police about the events on the day of the rape.
This article just says she lied, not specifically about the events on the day rape. If she lied about her asylum application, or lied in order to cover up her drug-launder activities, that is is a separate issue. I've only read the NYT article on this most recent development, for what it's worth.

I don't want to come off as one-sided here. I do believe in the presumption of innocence, and I'm not suggesting that DSK should be convicted (or hung by the media) on an accusation only. But I also don't think charges can be dismissed simply because the accuser has some some criminal dealings.
posted by dadaclonefly at 8:57 PM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was pretty bummed when John Stewart hopped on the dude before the facts were in. DSK is a scumbag: Surprise! But guilty of rape? Maybe not. Another instance where waiting for the facts would have been nice.

A shame Law and Order is gone, this would have made a killer case
posted by GilloD at 8:58 PM on June 30, 2011


Here's a scenario: he's had relations with her before as a prostitute, he liked her so he secretly arranged her job at this hotel as a sort of on-call screw as he traveled (since he has connections with the hotel through the IMF which paid for it). Her criminal boyfriend finds out about it from jail, and hatches a plan to blackmail DSK asking for a lot of money, DSK balked so she ran out screaming rape (after the tryst) and he skipped town.

While you are correct in identifying this as a scenario in that the word means "an imagined or projected sequence of event", I'm not sure what you hoped to gain by typing it up and posting it on the internet.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:59 PM on June 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


A shame Law and Order is gone, this would have made a killer case

It's a shame The Bonfire of the Vanities is already written... wait, no it's not.
posted by topynate at 9:01 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


sounds like the district attorney's office did the job of the defense in digging up credibility issues with the victim. that might seem like the prosecution wasn't interested in embarrassing themselves but at the same time it did a great favor to the defense team.

his flight to the airport though does imply that there was some hanky panky going on. even if it was a paid encounter, paying for sex is still a crime in new york.
posted by lester at 9:04 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


But I also don't think charges can be dismissed simply because the accuser has some some criminal dealings.

Dunno how they do this in France, but in the US at least, having that sort of criminal background can really destroy someone's credibility as a witness. Crimes of dishonesty or moral turpitude are admissible to impeach witnesses basically on the grounds that "This is not someone who you can trust to be honest with the court". Since the alleged crime is one for which the entire body of evidence is the accuser's word, that would pretty much leave the prosecution with no case to present.
posted by kafziel at 9:04 PM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


sounds like the district attorney's office did the job of the defense in digging up credibility issues with the victim. that might seem like the prosecution wasn't interested in embarrassing themselves but at the same time it did a great favor to the defense team.

Again, dunno how they do it in France, but in the US at least the prosecution is obligated to do that. If they have evidence that could be exculpatory or helpful to the defense, the prosecution is required to turn that over, and if they sit on it, the entire case can be thrown out on appeal.
posted by kafziel at 9:05 PM on June 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Does it completely eliminate the case against him? No. But the standard in court is "Beyond a reasonable doubt," and I think it's entirely sensible for the DA to conclude that no jury of twelve more-or-less randomly selected people are going to unanimously agree that there is no reasonable doubt about the events that transpired.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:08 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


From earlier this month:

Jeff Shapiro, the original lawyer for the accuser, and Norman Siegel, a prominent civil rights lawyer, leave the accuser's legal team but won't say why


(and also from before... famous defense attorney and Harvard jurist Alan Dershowtiz says that DSK will probably settle (Dershowitz seems to assume DSK is guilty, and also assumes that the accuser is after a "big payday" but the defense team and the accuser's team have to work together subtly against the DA's prosecution team to avoid the appearance of obstruction of justice if they want to make a deal))
posted by Bwithh at 9:09 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please please please let this not make it any harder for victims of rape to come forward and prosecute their rapists. PLEASE!

Yeah, um....

I don't think we have to worry about that in our justice system -- the scales seem to be tipped very firmly in the other direction. It seems that you only need to worry if you're making the whole thing up, and even then, you'll almost certainly manage to completely destroy the life and credibility of the person that you're targeting, and will face very few penalties yourself.

Now, here's where things get tricky. The victim in this case deserves a fair trial too, even if she's a drugdealing prostitute. She should have never lied, and could have likely taken the 5th to cover up some of her shady dealings... However, lying to the authorities is never a good idea, and does indeed completely ruin your credibility in the absence of any hard evidence.
posted by schmod at 9:10 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think we have to worry about that in our justice system -- the scales seem to be tipped very firmly in the other direction.

Hmm, that seems like a fairly contentious thing to say, and not really at all supported by cherry picking one example. 60% of rapes and assaults remain unreported to the police.
posted by smoke at 9:16 PM on June 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


I was pretty bummed when John Stewart hopped on the dude before the facts were in. DSK is a scumbag: Surprise! But guilty of rape? Maybe not. Another instance where waiting for the facts would have been nice.
What are you talking about? There's wasn't really any reason to think he didn't do it at the time, and there were reports from other women in France who said that he attacked them in the past.

Apparently, this women has some shady stuff going on in her life. That doesn't mean she's not a rape victim though. It just means the prosecution doesn't think that she'll be able to convince a jury because of these issues, and they may be right.

On the other hand it's theoretically possible that this woman figured she could turn a random sexual encounter into a payday by claiming rape and suing some rich guy. It is theoretically possible, I guess.

But, this does set up a logical problem with rape laws, though. If a women with "credibility problems" can't testify on her own behalf about rape, then all a rapist would have to do would be to look for girls who they think wouldn't have credibility on the stand, rape them, and get off scott free.
posted by delmoi at 9:17 PM on June 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


Hmm, that seems like a fairly contentious thing to say, and not really at all supported by cherry picking one example. 60% of rapes and assaults remain unreported to the police.
Yeah... don't about 1/8 women claim to have been raped at one point? If all women who claimed to have been raped saw the person they accused prosecuted and sent to jail, there would be far more men in prison. It seems like the standard 'date rape' scenario doesn't result in prosecution that often.
posted by delmoi at 9:20 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


But, this does set up a logical problem with rape laws, though. If a women with "credibility problems" can't testify on her own behalf about rape, then all a rapist would have to do would be to look for girls who they think wouldn't have credibility on the stand, rape them, and get off scott free.


It's not only a logical problem, it's a real practical problem, and the MO of serial rapists and murderers.
posted by calamari kid at 9:22 PM on June 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


What are you talking about? There's wasn't really any reason to think he didn't do it at the time, and there were reports from other women in France who said that he attacked them in the past.

But we presume innocence. There is always time to condemn the guilty after they are proven to be guilty.

If a women with "credibility problems" can't testify on her own behalf about rape, then all a rapist would have to do would be to look for girls who they think wouldn't have credibility on the stand, rape them, and get off scott free.


Whether you think he's guilty or not, there's no doubt Strauss-Kahn has suffered a lot in the past few months. Few rapists would willingly go through that. Rapists think they won't get caught, not that they won't get convicted.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:23 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


*common MO*
posted by calamari kid at 9:23 PM on June 30, 2011


I, too, don't see how the maid's possible criminal dealings should be relevant to the question of whether or not she was sexually assaulted. Were there injuries consistent with a forcible sexual encounter? If so, isn't that strong evidence that the rape occurred?

If a women with "credibility problems" can't testify on her own behalf about rape, then all a rapist would have to do would be to look for girls who they think wouldn't have credibility on the stand, rape them, and get off scott free.

Exactly.
posted by ms.codex at 9:27 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate it when Ben Stein is right.
posted by abcde at 9:32 PM on June 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I, too, don't see how the maid's possible criminal dealings should be relevant to the question of whether or not she was sexually assaulted. Were there injuries consistent with a forcible sexual encounter? If so, isn't that strong evidence that the rape occurred?

The problem is that it will make people on the Jury think that she is a criminal, and that this is all part of some extortion scheme.
posted by delmoi at 9:35 PM on June 30, 2011


I hate it when Ben Stein is right.

And again. Sign of the apocalypse.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:36 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This reporting on this case and the reactions, are one giant Rorschach test.
posted by VikingSword at 9:36 PM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


The thing is, there isn't even any evidence that this women has ever done anything wrong, just that she knows some people who may have, and that she apparently let some of them get cellphones in her name.
posted by delmoi at 9:36 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what you hoped to gain by typing it up and posting it on the internet.

Because Mrs. Pterodactyl I like a good mystery, you obviously do as well.. The point is, the number of scenarios in this case has just gone parabolic, both parties are untrustworthy and hiding things, neither sides story adds up. My scenario attempts to find a solution to the mystery that plausibly accounts for the facts we know and typical human nature - starting from the premise it's more common for crime to involve people who know one another rather than complete strangers (that's where police investigations always start). And how to reasonably explain that relationship in that hotel? I'm just playing Clue here, not making judgement.
posted by stbalbach at 9:37 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing is, there isn't even any evidence that this women has ever done anything wrong, just that she knows some people who may have, and that she apparently let some of them get cellphones in her name.

And then lied to the cops about it. Whoops!
posted by kafziel at 9:37 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, some of you need NYT Reading Comprehension 101.

According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

What this means, in English, is "We understand that there is basically solid evidence of an extortion plot, but we can't say that yet. But oh, boy, when we can...."
posted by dhartung at 9:40 PM on June 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


OK, some of you need NYT Reading Comprehension 101.

According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.

What this means, in English, is "We understand that there is basically solid evidence of an extortion plot, but we can't say that yet. But oh, boy, when we can...."


Assuming there was a plot, it might not have been about extortion (primarily). It might also be that the woman felt her asylum application was going to be refused (since it is reportedly based on a false account of being gang raped in Guinea) and that somehow being involved in a highprofile US case as a victim would save her from deportation?
posted by Bwithh at 9:47 PM on June 30, 2011


And then lied to the cops about it. Whoops!
Well, if they asked her how many cellphones she had, it would make sense that she'd mention the phone she actually has and uses, not phones that are in her name but aren't actually "hers". And anyway, not only is it not illegal to give cellphones to people, it also has nothing to do with whether or not you've been sexually assaulted.
What this means, in English, is "We understand that there is basically solid evidence of an extortion plot, but we can't say that yet. But oh, boy, when we can...."
Not really. In English, it means exactly what it says on paper. The sentence is quite clear, she talked to this guy after the incident took place, and they discussed potential benefits of filing charges. That's not an extortion plot.

I mean think about it: If a woman is raped, and she talks to someone about, and that person says that it would be good to go to the police, does that mean she wasn't raped, and instead has become an extortionist?

There was only two hours between the incident and the time she went to the police. And she immediately went to her supervisors and told them what happened. How would she have had time to consult with anyone and plot an extortion scheme in that time period?
posted by delmoi at 9:49 PM on June 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


oh, and not only that THE PHONE CALL HAPPENED AFTER SHE HAD GONE TO THE POLICE AND DSK HAD ALREADY BEEN ARRESTED

dhartung: How the fuck can that be an "extortion plot"? She just talked to someone who told her she'd be better off not dropping the charges. It happened that the guy was in jail. Does that mean that she didn't get raped? WTF?
posted by delmoi at 9:51 PM on June 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


According to the two officials, the woman had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him. The conversation was recorded.
She was recorded saying she has motive to commit perjury. That opens the door wide for reasonable doubt against her testimony, which is all you need in court. As for what actually happened, it seems that's still up in the air.
posted by scalefree at 9:51 PM on June 30, 2011


I mean think about it: If a woman is raped, and she talks to someone about, and that person says that it would be good to go to the police, does that mean she wasn't raped, and instead has become an extortionist?

I wonder if there is any action, other than an admission by the accuser, which would be sufficient for you to not have already convicted this guy.
posted by rr at 9:52 PM on June 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


He's clearly a scumbag; it's apparently clear that they had some kind of sexual contact; but what is less clear is whether or not her story of the attack can be trusted at all. Is that a reasonable summary?

What a clusterfuck. I don't see any way in which this will have a clean resolution for either of them, particularly with the accusations and counter-accusations of extortions, pay-offs, and influence dealings.
posted by Forktine at 9:58 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd agree with dhartung that you're miss-reading the NYT's doublespeak bwithh, delmoi, etc. You should expect extortion charges will soon be filed against the maid.

Also, credibility is necessarily central to any witness's testimony. Witnesses routinely lie, invent, etc. often sending innocent people away. And we'd surely know if the physical evidence was conclusive in this case.

Assangination has always been a favorite political attack, CarlRossi. There isn't any reason for a depth first search of conspiracy theories, stbalbach, well unless you're gonna challenge any major dude's lovely crown. lol

I'm mostly curious how this'll effect French, Parti Socialiste, and his views towards America. I just wish he'd witnessed our barbaric bail delays for those sad souls arrested outside their prosecuting jurisdiction, say by picking Newark.

Any French opinions about whether he'll remain a viable contender for the presidency of France? I'd guess yes myself.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:59 PM on June 30, 2011


I wonder if there is any action, other than an admission by the accuser, which would be sufficient for you to not have already convicted this guy.
I'm not talking about "reasonable doubt" here, I'm talking about what's likely to have happened. What I don't understand is what exactly it is that makes people think it's so much less likely that she was raped.

I mean, there are a couple things here about her that are sketchy, but what does that have to do with sexual assault? There is a huge difference between letting someone get cellphones in your name, and having a friend in jail, to then flipping around and making up rape charges against a world leader and totally committing to it.

If DSK isn't guilty, then this woman would be a completely sociopathic con-woman who is committing a pretty serious crime that involves holding up the pretense of being a rape victim for days.

So the question I would have is this: what evidence is there that she's the kind of person who would commit that kind of crime on the spur of the moment? The fact that she has some low-life friends and she lets people get cellphones in her name? That's a huge fucking leap.

On the other hand, this woman isn't even the first person who DSK has sexually assaulted. The other ones kept quiet, thinking that doing anything about it could be bad for them. and apparently they were right!

Also, the idea that this was an extortion plot she worked out with someone else. How is that even logistically possible? How can you plot to extort someone after they're already in jail for raping you? I'm serious, how is that logistically possible? I don't get it?

We don't know exactly what was said on the tape, but even if they discussed money or something like that, it wouldn't change anything that had happened in the past few days. it wouldn't change whether or not she had been raped, it wouldn't change the fact that she told the hotel staff immediately, and that the police were called in a few hours.


I'm not trying to say "DSK Is obviously guilty!" What I'm saying is let's apply some reasonable doubt to whether or not this maid is guilty of an extortion against a world leader that she hatched within a few minutes of having sex with DSK, based on the fact that she had a phone conversation with someone -- a day after the fact -- about the benefits of not dropping charges that had already been filed.
posted by delmoi at 10:07 PM on June 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


This isn't "if you didn't dress slutty, the rape wouldn't have happened."

The case is more like this: "If you consort with criminals and deal in high dollar crime and lie to people investigating your accusation, a jury won't believe you about the rape" is a perfectly realistic warning.
posted by chimaera at 10:07 PM on June 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'd agree with dhartung that you're miss-reading the NYT's doublespeak bwithh, delmoi, etc. You should expect extortion charges will soon be filed against the maid.

I wasn't disagreeing with dhartung's point, I was just offering another explanation (which would also look bad for the accuser) of what the vaguely termed "benefits" discussed in the reported conversation might be
posted by Bwithh at 10:13 PM on June 30, 2011


The case is more like this: "If you consort with criminals and deal in high dollar crime and lie to people investigating your accusation, a jury won't believe you about the rape" is a perfectly realistic warning.
So feel free to rape those women, right!? I mean, seriously, we're saying this women is lying about the rape because of who she's friends with? The cellphone thing seems kind of minor, it could be a misunderstanding if she didn't think of the cellphones as 'hers' then she would say she only had one phone, even though the others were in her name.
posted by delmoi at 10:25 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


She was recorded saying she has motive to commit perjury.

Do you have a link to confirm that, because the NY Times article says she was discussing the "benefits" of not dropping the charges. The benefits could include not letting your alleged rapist get away with it/not backing down because he's a rich, powerful man.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:27 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


So feel free to rape those women, right!? I mean, seriously, we're saying this women is lying about the rape because of who she's friends with?

No, that's not what I said. I said a jury isn't going to believe the accuser. And you know what? If i were on a jury, and the details of this case came up exactly as presented:

1. She lied to those investigating her claims about having not one but 5 phones in her name.
2. She had 100k+ put into her account by drug dealers
3. The call she had with an inmate discussed the benefits of the case (other than to nail the accused rapist to the wall)

You know what? If this is how it actually played out, I probably couldn't vote to convict.

It's not a "feel free to rape these women" argument, and you are being disingenuous by claiming that it is. If the info that came out is accurate, I would not know if I could believe what she has to say -- and isn't that part of what "reasonable doubt" is?

Just because she's talking about something very serious and awful doesn't privilege her accusation and all of a sudden make her instantly credible. Even if the rape occurred, as awful as it is, when it comes to a victim's word as the only hard evidence, credibility is the CORE of the case.

Stop wilfully misrepresenting other people's stance on things to slake your thirst for outrage.
posted by chimaera at 10:38 PM on June 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


1. She lied to those investigating her claims about having not one but 5 phones in her name.

This is mind boggling to me.
posted by delmoi at 10:57 PM on June 30, 2011


I mean the fact that you would disbelieve someone about a rape because of how many cellphones they have.
posted by delmoi at 10:57 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


This incident might have been a set up, I remember reading (in one of the posts on this news piece) that after the initial accusation multiple other women have come out of the woodwork. Common complaint? Not wanting to be alone in a room with this guy given his years old reputation.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:58 PM on June 30, 2011


I'll play along.

Strike #1.

2. She had 100k+ put into her account by drug dealers
3. The call she had with an inmate discussed the benefits of the case (other than to nail the accused rapist to the wall)

My point stands.
posted by chimaera at 10:58 PM on June 30, 2011


incidentally, as the NYC DA's office is saying that the facts that she has given them about her history don't match up in major ways with her asylum application, that could lead to a charge of perjury against her if the asylum application (false testimony here on these applications is treated as perjury) is considered suspect - if convicted, that's not just deportation, that's a prison sentence then deportation.
posted by Bwithh at 11:02 PM on June 30, 2011


Another successful attack on the forces of certainty!

(Just don't make the mistake of being certain the other way in reaction!)
posted by klangklangston at 11:05 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also,

I mean the fact that you would disbelieve someone about a rape because of how many cellphones they have.

Remember where I said "Stop wilfully misrepresenting other people's stance..." ?

Please listen to me. You're moving from impassioned to shrill now.
posted by chimaera at 11:05 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not a "feel free to rape these women" argument, and you are being disingenuous by claiming that it is. If the info that came out is accurate, I would not know if I could believe what she has to say -- and isn't that part of what "reasonable doubt" is?
Well right. But if, in practice, you are not going to believe women who have those characteristics, then I could go out and find a woman like that and rape her, and I wouldn't have to worry about getting convicted. So how is that different from "feel free to rape these women"? There are obviously a lot of women out there who know or consort with shady people. Are you saying, then, that you would never convict someone accused of raping them?

I'm just wondering what you think the practical difference is.
3. The call she had with an inmate discussed the benefits of the case (other than to nail the accused rapist to the wall)
We don't know what the 'benefits' in question actually are here. It could be money. But it happened after the rape was reported to the police. It's not like what they discussed on the phone could have gone backwards in time and convinced her to call the police and report the rape in the past, right? So the phone call doesn't really have any baring on what happened.

Plus, I mean there's a pattern with this guy. This isn't something that just happened out of the blue.
posted by delmoi at 11:05 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]



Remember where I said "Stop wilfully misrepresenting other people's stance..." ?
Dude, you wrote:

No, that's not what I said. I said a jury isn't going to believe the accuser. And you know what? If i were on a jury, and the details of this case came up exactly as presented:

1. She lied to those investigating her claims about having not one but 5 phones in her name.
2. She had 100k+ put into her account by drug dealers
3. The call she had with an inmate discussed the benefits of the case (other than to nail the accused rapist to the wall)

You know what? If this is how it actually played out, I probably couldn't vote to convict.
You listed the cellphone thing, specifically as something that makes you think she's lying about the rape. I'm not misrepresenting what you wrote. Maybe you meant something different, but that's clearly what you actually wrote.
posted by delmoi at 11:07 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


delmoi: "Well right. But if, in practice, you are not going to believe women who have those characteristics, then I could go out and find a woman like that and rape her, and I wouldn't have to worry about getting convicted. So how is that different from "feel free to rape these women"?"

So what you're saying is, this is indeed legitimate reasonable doubt, but anyone who has reasonable doubt about this would be guilty of promoting the rape of women?

By that logic even the presumption of innocence in a rape case is tantamount to encouraging people to rape each other.
posted by danny the boy at 11:16 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Delmoi, do you think that a person with multiple perjury convictions is someone who should be taken as a credible witness in court? If so, why do you think that shouldn't be relevant? If not, does that create a situation of "feel free to rape multiple perjurers" and promotes the rape of women?
posted by kafziel at 11:20 PM on June 30, 2011


delmoi, you claimed that chimaera disbelieves because of how many cellphones she has.

chimaera, meanwhile, indicated disbelief (at least enough to count as reasonable doubt) because she lied* to police in the course of the investigation. That lie happened to be about the number of cellphones that she had.

"Because of how many cellphones she has" is not an accurate or even reasonable paraphrasing of "because she lied to police in the course of the investigation". I'm not saying it's a willful misrepresentation, but it's most definitely a misrepresentation.

*: I want to be clear that I am only using "lied" here in that chimaera used it; I'm not claiming she lied - I don't know enough one way or the other.
posted by Flunkie at 11:20 PM on June 30, 2011


You specifically misrepresented my comment by extracting only that I "would disbelieve someone about a rape because of how many cellphones they have."

Absolutely this was a misrepresentation by omission. You're reacting to one piece of a multi faceted point and dismissing it out of hand. Yes, it's misrepresentation. J'accuse.

There are obviously a lot of women out there who know or consort with shady people. Are you saying, then, that you would never convict someone accused of raping them?"

I would absolutely NOT "never convict someone accused of raping them" but if circumstances came up (again I must reassert that I'm PRESUMING what the NYT says is factually accurate) that raise extortion as a plausible motive for the accusation, that would definitely affect the accuser's credibility. How could it not?

The fact that Strauss-Kahn has apparently done this in the past is relevant. And, if his previous behavior were presented as evidence, I would take that into account as well. Personally, I think the fucker did it. But that isn't the threshold for conviction. Her credibility is shot, as far as I'm concerned, and it sucks, but perhaps there isn't a practical difference between that and a license to rape someone who is not credible. If it is only someone's word and you cannot trust them, do I ignore a lack of credibility simply because they're accusing someone of something really, really bad?

But you seem to be in denial that being in a position where an extortion motive is plausible and a willingness to make false statements for gain (to wit: lying to investigators -- about anything -- who are trying to determine the facts of the case, being in receipt of large amounts of drug money, and having a recorded conversation about having "benefits" from the case [the actual benefits discussed would determine how much weight I'd put on that]) affects her credibility very, very negatively.
posted by chimaera at 11:20 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Allow me to reiterate that I'm speaking only from the angle of presuming the NYT article is accurate. If that is accurate, I must reassert that my point stands.
posted by chimaera at 11:22 PM on June 30, 2011


I think this guy has enough money and friends to prove anything. I am not too anxious for his welfare, he doesn't seem like a really nice, innocent guy, caught up in anything. I bet he has a lot of favors he can call in.

She, however, may be a tool for yet another set of villains whose bidding she has no choice but to follow. She may have escaped hell via a devil's bargain. I doubt that a hotel maid just in from Africa, has a lot of 'intelligence community' type savvy. If all of this were true, she would have to be a full fledged operative of some kind. Maybe it is so, but I have my doubts.


You need a publishing deal.
posted by the noob at 11:30 PM on June 30, 2011


Interesting that the BBC world news website is NOT yet reporting on the NYT exclusive, even though it's almost 8am in London now. The UK Guardian is reporting the NYT exclusive as is the Financial Times (but the FT, despite being a financial industry newspaper, in much more muted, cautious and played down terms). Seems like the British press is not fully on board with the NYT exclusive yet. though I imagine it's getting huge play in France.
posted by Bwithh at 11:47 PM on June 30, 2011


So what you're saying is, this is indeed legitimate reasonable doubt, but anyone who has reasonable doubt about this would be guilty of promoting the rape of women?

By that logic even the presumption of innocence in a rape case is tantamount to encouraging people to rape each other.
What's bothering me here is the lack of presumption of innocence on behalf of the woman. It's quite strange that you could go from a few minor details about her to accusing her of making up this whole thing.

People in this thread are saying this is an extortion plot, and that she'll soon be prosecuted for extortion, etc.

What I'm saying is that it's entirely possible for a woman to both know shady characters and be raped.
chimaera, meanwhile, indicated disbelief (at least enough to count as reasonable doubt) because she lied* to police in the course of the investigation. That lie happened to be about the number of cellphones that she had.
Did she lie about it or was there a misunderstanding? If the phones were being used by other people, then, as I said, she may not have considered them hers.

The point is, it's such a random minor detail and I don't see what relevance it has here. If someone says "I have a car" but actually the car is registered to their parents, are they lying? It's weird.

Honestly, if high priced investigators decided to go through every detail of your life do you think they would find anything unusual? Any 'inconsistencies'? Or is there nothing about your life that could be twisted to make you look bad?

---

The problem here is that you have to look the balance of evidence. Either this woman is a conniving sociopath who jumped at the opportunity to try to extort a world leader after having completely random consensual sex with him or A man with a history of sexually assaulting women sexually assaulted this woman, who happens to have shady friends.

The question is which is more likely. I think "A guy with a history of sexually assaulting people and getting away with it tried to do so again" is more likely then "woman spontaneously decides to accuse a guy of sexual assault, and gets lucky picks someone with a history of that sort of thing."

In either case, you're accusing someone of a pretty awful crime. The question is, why doesn't the maid also have the presumption of innocence here? As I said, a lot of the comments here seem to be saying she's definitely guilty of trying to frame this guy.

If this guy didn't have a history of this kind of thing then then I would be more likely to think she was making it up. On the other hand, if she engaged in more serious crimes in the past, or seemed to be more of a criminal/fraudster herself (as opposed to simply knowing people who were) then that would also balance things more towards here. But I don't think there's enough evidence to say that she's the kind of person who would try to pull of a high-stakes scam like this.
posted by delmoi at 11:47 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did she lie about it or was there a misunderstanding?
Christ, delmoi. I specifically said that I was not claiming that she lied.
The point is, it's such a random minor detail and I don't see what relevance it has here.
Lying to police during the investigation is not a random minor detail, and that's what chimaera claimed happened. You grossly misrepresented that claim.

That you think the thing she allegedly lied about is trivial, or even perhaps that she didn't lie at all, is completely irrelevant to whether or not you misrepresented chimaera's claim.
posted by Flunkie at 11:52 PM on June 30, 2011


Lying to police during the investigation is not a random minor detail, and that's what chimaera claimed happened. You grossly misrepresented that claim.
I think I've said this like three times already, but it could be a misunderstanding.
posted by delmoi at 11:54 PM on June 30, 2011


Are you trolling? Seriously.

Of course it could be a misunderstanding. That's why I said that I am not claiming she lied. As, you will hopefully note, that I too have said "like three times already".

That is not relevant to whether or not you were misrepresenting chimaera's position, which is the only thing that I was commenting on. And you did, delmoi. Badly.

I'm going to bed.
posted by Flunkie at 11:57 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


That you think the thing she allegedly lied about is trivial, or even perhaps that she didn't lie at all, is completely irrelevant to whether or not you misrepresented chimaera's claim.
That's getting pretty meta, it depends on whether or not a lie or misstatement is dependent on the object about which incorrect statements are being made. Getting into a discussion of it is kind of a waste of time, but none the less let me explain why I don't think I'm mischaracterizing chimaera's argument.

If you have a logical argument like this:
1) She claimed to have one cellphone
2) There are 5 cellphones in her name.
3) Therefore, she's a lair and has less credibility on other issues.

The problem here is that #3 depends on both #1 and #2. It's because of the number of phones she has that she has less credibility. To say she lacks credibility is dependent on the number of phones she has.

But beyond that... it's just weird. lying about or misstating the number of cellphones you have doesn't have much to do with whether or not you would make up a story about being raped by a world leader. It's just such a random point. what does it have to do with anything? How could it be more important then the fact that other woman have come forward and accused DSK of doing the same thing? It doesn't make much sense to me.


My only point is to defend the woman. I don't really care about DSK he seems like an asshole.
posted by delmoi at 12:07 AM on July 1, 2011


Quite convenient how this came out the day after the new president of the IMF had been announced.
posted by sophist at 12:17 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


June 29: Lisa Friel, the chief of the Manhattan district attorney’s sex crimes unit for nearly a decade, is leaving that post, according to a memorandum circulated in the office on Wednesday.

The announcement comes at a pivotal moment, as the office handles one of its biggest sex-crimes prosecutions ever: the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
...
It remains unclear exactly what prompted Ms. Friel’s decision to leave the office and when she will do so. The district attorney’s office declined to comment on the matter.



If this was an episode of SVU (if SVU didn't suck) , this would be like the big last double episode/ TV movie finale when the whole series ends.
posted by Bwithh at 12:24 AM on July 1, 2011


urgh, got my Law & Orders mixed up.. .had a hard time finding a good link on youtube... oh well.
posted by Bwithh at 12:27 AM on July 1, 2011


bwithh: Interesting that the BBC world news website is NOT yet reporting on the NYT exclusive, even though it's almost 8am in London now. The UK Guardian is reporting the NYT exclusive as is the Financial Times (but the FT, despite being a financial industry newspaper, in much more muted, cautious and played down terms). Seems like the British press is not fully on board with the NYT exclusive yet. though I imagine it's getting huge play in France.
Well, they're reporting it now, for what it's worth: Dominique Strauss-Kahn: 'Doubts' over maid's credibility.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:37 AM on July 1, 2011


I would infinitely prefer the private shame of an old, ugly manatee forcing me to eat her bush then have my presidency (!), career, reputation, and life destroyed in the most humiliating and public manner possible. Guilty or not, I'm actually surprised Strauss-Kahn hasn't committed suicide, because either way his life project is destroyed. The maid, raped or not, must now suffer the public loss of her reputation as well. In fact if she was raped she has to shoulder the attack and the loss of reputation.

There needs to be some sort of reform here; perhaps criminal trials should be off the record until there is a guilty verdict. At the very least rape cases should be kept extremely secretive until the verdict for the benefit of both the accuser and the accused.

The humiliating public nature of these cases is likely the reason so many raped women don't step forward. I would rather bear a private psychological burden then gamble with my public image. I don't think it's unreasonable to try and remove that gamble aspect from the equation.
posted by dgaicun at 12:38 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


delmoi writes "What are you talking about? There's wasn't really any reason to think he didn't do it at the time,"

Well there is that whole innocent until proven guilty concept.

calamari kid writes "It's not only a logical problem, it's a real practical problem, and the MO of serial rapists and murderers."

Care to explain how the credibility of murder victims affects the chance of the perpetrators being punished?

delmoi writes "Well right. But if, in practice, you are not going to believe women who have those characteristics, then I could go out and find a woman like that and rape her, and I wouldn't have to worry about getting convicted. So how is that different from 'feel free to rape these women'? There are obviously a lot of women out there who know or consort with shady people. Are you saying, then, that you would never convict someone accused of raping them? "

This is one of the things that sucks about life. Not all crimes are going to be punished. And there isn't anyway to fix it. In this case either you allow for a guilty accused to go free because of a discredited witness or you prevent witnesses from being discredited and pretty well guarantee accused parties that are innocent will go to gaol for crimes they didn't commit.

delmoi writes "The problem here is that you have to look the balance of evidence. Either this woman is a conniving sociopath who jumped at the opportunity to try to extort a world leader after having completely random consensual sex with him or A man with a history of sexually assaulting women sexually assaulted this woman, who happens to have shady friends. "

Could also be somewhere in between or even both (like the LAPD framing OJ).

delmoi writes "In either case, you're accusing someone of a pretty awful crime. The question is, why doesn't the maid also have the presumption of innocence here? As I said, a lot of the comments here seem to be saying she's definitely guilty of trying to frame this guy."

She can be not credible and also not a criminal.
posted by Mitheral at 12:57 AM on July 1, 2011


What's bothering me here is the lack of presumption of innocence on behalf of the woman.

She isn't charged with a crime; she doesn't have or need presumption of innocence! Presumption of innocence is a legal concept If she is brought up on charges of extortion or something then she is presumed innocent.
posted by Justinian at 1:06 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


My only point is to defend the woman. I don't really care about DSK he seems like an asshole.

Yuck, delmoi. Chimaera isn't saying she made it up. [S]he's just saying that there's reasonable doubt about the maid's veracity *if the NYT claims are true*. It's not a statement about the facts on the day either way, just about her credibility as a witness and resultant difficulties in a he said/she said case. What's so difficult to understand?

Please also note that DSK has already lost his job and much of his reputation to an utterly unproven charge. Innocent until proven guilty has not really worked here, and you in particular seem to wish to die upon a hill that DSK must have done it and that Chimaera is effectively defending DSK's right to rape women.

Direct misrepresentation of the views of Chimaera is something I assume is unintentional, but this isn't coming across as very fair of you.
posted by jaduncan at 1:11 AM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


They believed the maid enough to make a high profile arrest of the DSK and put him on house arrest. She was more or less "presumed to be telling the truth." Now we're past the "presumed" part, and have moved on to the "OK, let's see if we can make an actual determination of the facts of her story," and that's where her credibility fell apart.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:15 AM on July 1, 2011


Well right. But if, in practice, you are not going to believe women who have those characteristics, then I could go out and find a woman like that and rape her, and I wouldn't have to worry about getting convicted.

And if you ignore such evidence of character, then anyone can falsely accuse anyone and get them locked away (or extorted).

Credibility and perjury history is not taken into consideration by juries because we like it. It is considered because assholes make it necessary to consider it, by taking deliberate ruinous abusive advantage of legal processes that are can be abused, and ruining it for the rest of us.


In either case, you're accusing someone of a pretty awful crime. The question is, why doesn't the maid also have the presumption of innocence here?

The maid is not on trial. She needs no presumption of innocence because she's not staring down the barrel of incarceration. Presumption of innocence is a legal protection during prosecution.

As I said, a lot of the comments here seem to be saying she's definitely guilty of trying to frame this guy.

Plenty of people are likewise also saying the guy totally did it. On the internet, people speculate. In a courtroom however, presumption of innocence goes to the defendant.
posted by anonymisc at 1:18 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well there is that whole innocent until proven guilty concept.
Does that apply to the maid as well?
She isn't charged with a crime; she doesn't have or need presumption of innocence!
She's being accused a crime. If DSK didn't rape her, then she is a criminal.
Presumption of innocence is a legal concept
And therefore... what exactly? DSK either raped her, or he didn't. One of them is a criminal and the other isn't. What is the problem with discussing which case is more likely?
Yuck, delmoi. Chimaera isn't saying she made it up. [S]he's just saying that there's reasonable doubt about the maid's veracity *if the NYT claims are true*. It's not a statement about the facts on the day either way, just about her credibility as a witness and resultant difficulties in a he said/she said case. What's so difficult to understand?
What's so hard to understand is what you think I'm not understanding. I certainly understand that the credibility issues would make prosecution more difficult.

But while the presumption of innocence is nice, they can't both be innocent here. One of them has to be a criminal. The question is which is which.
posted by delmoi at 1:22 AM on July 1, 2011


There needs to be some sort of reform here; perhaps criminal trials should be off the record until there is a guilty verdict. At the very least rape cases should be kept extremely secretive until the verdict for the benefit of both the accuser and the accused.

In most of Europe, the accused is only identified by name and initial until conviction to prevent precisely this sort of trial by press situation.
posted by atrazine at 1:23 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The maid is not on trial. She needs no presumption of innocence because she's not staring down the barrel of incarceration. Presumption of innocence is a legal protection during prosecution.
What does that hove to do with a comment thread. Just because getting a conviction in court would be a challenge, that doesn't mean he didn't do it. OJ wasn't convicted. Does that mean he's innocent? Are we not allowed to talk about him as if he did it?
posted by delmoi at 1:24 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


But while the presumption of innocence is nice, they can't both be innocent here. One of them has to be a criminal. The question is which is which.

Not really. A criminal isn't someone who's done something morally abhorrent, but someone who has been convicted of a crime by a court. It's entirely possible that the evidence is such that even though logically one or the other must be guilty of a crime, neither of them could be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, so neither is a criminal.
posted by atrazine at 1:25 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


But while the presumption of innocence is nice, they can't both be innocent here. One of them has to be a criminal. The question is which is which.

Grr. You do not know. It is possible, given the facts as stated, that it can never be known. And yes, they both can be legally innocent due to the fact that reasonable doubt may exist in both cases (although lying during the investigation is a bit more provable, if it happened).

This is also a terrible outcome for DSK if he is innocent. Huge problems with the presidential race (although it is sexual, and the race is in France); no longer at the IMF; without a job and with quite negative PR to deal with for any potential employer; down both the money for his defence; down the cost of funding his own house arrest; the destruction of a career.

Presumption of innocence isn't just nice, it's essential. Just for the sake of argument Delmoi, wouldn't you have a problem if the same happened to the maid based on an unproven allegation of a false charge?
posted by jaduncan at 1:30 AM on July 1, 2011


The maid is not on trial. She needs no presumption of innocence because she's not staring down the barrel of incarceration. Presumption of innocence is a legal protection during prosecution.
What does that hove to do with a comment thread. Just because getting a conviction in court would be a challenge, that doesn't mean he didn't do it. OJ wasn't convicted. Does that mean he's innocent? Are we not allowed to talk about him as if he did it?
A criminal isn't someone who's done something morally abhorrent, but someone who has been convicted of a crime by a court.
No, that's a convict. The word criminal applies to anyone who breaks the law, whether or not they are caught. When people talk about "Criminals on the street", they're not talking about people who just got released from prison after serving their sentences.
posted by delmoi at 1:30 AM on July 1, 2011


What is the problem with discussing which case is more likely?

Because you're mixing two different questions together. People have said they, given the reported facts, they'd probably have to find DSK not guilty at trial. And you're objecting to that by asking "which is more likely?". But that's completely irrelevant to whether someone would find DSK guilty.
posted by Justinian at 1:33 AM on July 1, 2011


his flight to the airport though does imply that there was some hanky panky going on.

Going to the airport to catch a flight is not the same as fleeing the country.

Vivian Norris in Huffington Post today:
"Reading an article about the DSK case a few days ago, one thing struck me as glaringly disturbing. The missing cell phone, the one he called the hotel about at least three times, demanded that it be brought to the airport several times, and sent his step daughter to crawl around on the ground with an employee of the restaurant McCormick and Schmick's to look for, was one of several phones DSK had with him. Why would a man who supposedly had violently attacked a woman for sexual favors keep calling the hotel where the alleged crime occurred, asking for his cell phone? Why would he assume that when the people asked for him at the entrance to the Air France plane at JFK, that they were there to return his precious phone (and not arrest him)?"
posted by iviken at 1:44 AM on July 1, 2011


his flight to the airport though does imply that there was some hanky panky going on.

DSK was on a pre-planned flight from JFK on May 14 (the day of the alleged assault) to meet Chancellor Merkel in Germany for official meeting on May 15. Flight was (re)booked May 13, the day before alleged assault.

French report (imperfectly translated by Google)
posted by Bwithh at 1:56 AM on July 1, 2011


One of them has to be a criminal.

A quick thought experiment: whilst I am not at all suggesting this happened in this case, it would be entirely possible for random person A to have raped random person B in the view of B whilst A had a reasonable belief that B had consented (insert own facts to prove this here) to A.

A would be innocent of rape, since apparent consent would have been given.
B could give a police report believing that she had been raped, and this would be lawful as an accurate representation of her beliefs. B would thus be innocent of perjury.

Both are innocent of all crimes (even setting aside your lack of need for conviction to make value judgments). There can be many, many variables. This is why we have courts.
posted by jaduncan at 2:11 AM on July 1, 2011


Because you're mixing two different questions together. People have said they, given the reported facts, they'd probably have to find DSK not guilty at trial. And you're objecting to that by asking "which is more likely?". But that's completely irrelevant to whether someone would find DSK guilty.
I think I said pretty clearly that I thought it would be difficult to get a conviction. So I'm not really sure what you're saying here. How am I confusing the two questions?
posted by delmoi at 2:13 AM on July 1, 2011


A quick thought experiment: whilst I am not at all suggesting this happened in this case, it would be entirely possible for random person A to have raped random person B in the view of B whilst A had a reasonable belief that B had consented (insert own facts to prove this here) to A.
Sure that's possible, if you look at the Assange case or something. But that doesn't seem very likely in this case. Unless there was a situation where she didn't fight back, at all, and then later told the police he dragged her into the bathroom and forced her to give a blowjob, etc. If she were lying about those things, then I would definitely think that DSK was probably not guilty. So if she claimed there was physical evidence of a struggle, and there wasn't. That would be a big mark against her. But instead there's some random stuff about her that doesn't really relate to the specific charges.
posted by delmoi at 2:17 AM on July 1, 2011


Despite his logorrhoea of illogic, I share delmoi's main concern. The article is unclear about the full extent of the evidence against the accuser's credibility, esp. the insinuation that there was an extortion motive. What it looks like to me given the article is that the maid was tangled up in some serious criminal activities, and so told a number of tertiary lies during the investigation to protect herself (e.g. her secret crime phones). But the specific lies she told don't seem to involve the incident in question. This is shades of the Lewinsky scandal, where Clinton's irrelevant sexual lies were treated the same as Watergate or Iran-Contra. What matters is what people lie about.

On the other hand the fact that the case hinged upon the accuser's "credibility" is itself revealing of the flimsiness of the justice process. The justice system deals with matters of life and death -- we give it the power to rob people of their freedom and civil rights -- all based on speculative standards of evidence that would otherwise be rejected by peer review journals in the soft sciences.

I am unclear about why the maid's lies about her money laundering (or whatever) should destroy her case against DSK. While I'm not thrilled with the idea that people who "look suspicious of accused crimes" should go to jail, that is what the justice system amounts to, and DSK still "looks suspicious" of the rape to me. Especially given his record of similar behavior. I don't think this new information should scrap the case against him.
posted by dgaicun at 2:18 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the other hand the fact that the case hinged upon the accuser's "credibility" is itself revealing of the flimsiness of the justice process.

I don't understand this point. In a case like this what, exactly, could the case possibly hinge on besides the accuser's testimony? There were no cameras in the hotel room.
posted by Justinian at 2:25 AM on July 1, 2011


Elliot Spitzer.
Julian Assange.
DSK.

This is how the CIA rolls.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:40 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


delmoi, dgaicun - on the facts of this case.

The charge of rape seems to be unsustainable on the (again, hearsay) facts known, because the accuser is apparently not credible due to a recent history of lying and dishonesty, and the accused has no evidence of this against them. There is apparently no evidence other than a he said/she said about consent during the sex as far as is known in the public record.

NYT: "In addition, one of the officials said, she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application. She also told them that she had been subjected to genital mutilation, but her account to the investigators differed from what was contained in the asylum application."

If this is true, it appears she cannot reliably recount details of rapes she is alleged to have undergone (even setting aside the fact the rapes may or may not have happened). This is a huge issue for her as the only friendly witness of her own alleged rape by the accused. The fact that convicted drug dealers are putting $100k in her bank whilst she works as a maid also doesn't exactly help.

I am not sure why you would continue to view this person as someone who is either legally or morally reliable beyond a reasonable doubt as a source of testimony. You should also note that the prosecutors probably really didn't want to drop this charge, since they have made a really very high profile arrest and a possibly career-limiting call on the likelihood of conviction based on trusting the accuser. It's just that the accuser has apparently proven to be fairly unreliable in consistency of statements and consorts with drug dealers whilst the accused can probably get character statements from really very impressive witnesses indeed.

I'm not sure why people would be so sure that DSK did it (and delmoi, you explicitly stated it was more likely that he did) even on a factual basis whilst all this is true. I feel sympathetic for the police here; given that DSK was leaving on a (apparently prearranged) flight, they had to make a judgment call on if they should collar him before he left US jurisdiction. I think I would also have arrested DSK, and also have had a very sinking feeling as the facts around my star witness became known.
posted by jaduncan at 2:44 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't understand this point. In a case like this what, exactly, could the case possibly hinge on besides the accuser's testimony? There were no cameras in the hotel room.


Well, that is the point. And I've used the same camera example; the basis for judgment is inherently flimsy.

On the other hand, if the accuser's "credibility" is what the case is predicated on, then the judgment should also weigh what she has and has not been credible about. If she tells you the earth is 6000 years old, then she is not a credible geologist, but she could still be truthful about a rape. If she lies about money laundering then she is a Bad Person, but Bad People can still tell the truth about being raped.
posted by dgaicun at 2:47 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


If she lies about money laundering then she is a Bad Person, but Bad People can still tell the truth about being raped.

As stated, on the reported facts she appears to be an unreliable witness regarding genital mutilation and rape. The money is an unhelpful ancillary issue to that.
posted by jaduncan at 2:50 AM on July 1, 2011


Well, that is the point. And I've used the same camera example; the basis for judgment is inherently flimsy.

Which is exactly why the defendant is presumed innocent; so that we don't send people to jail on the basis of flimsy evidence. Theoretically, obviously.
posted by Justinian at 2:50 AM on July 1, 2011


If a women with "credibility problems" can't testify on her own behalf about rape, then all a rapist would have to do would be to look for girls who they think wouldn't have credibility on the stand, rape them, and get off scott free.

Doesn't that happen already, with women with histories of tyroubled/unreliable behaviour (a past drug habit or criminal record would be enough) effectively being condemned to de facto sexual outlawry and being fair game for rapists?
posted by acb at 3:38 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


As stated, on the reported facts she appears to be an unreliable witness regarding genital mutilation and rape. The money is an unhelpful ancillary issue to that.

Great, and this is horseshit IMO. She was seemingly confused about what information she included on an immigration form, x number of years ago. The article did not state she lied about experiencing genital mutilation or a previous rape. And didn't explain how her childhood experiences with genital mutilation reasonably pertain to her rape charge against DSK.

Did she cheat on a math test in high school? Lie about tips as a waitress? Why should I care?

Let me give you some examples about what I would consider evidence against her "credibility" as it reasonably pertains to the case:


Accuser: he raped me on Monday, June 3rd at a party

People at the party: accused was not at that party

Accused's friends: he was with us that night

NOT CREDIBLE

---

Accuser: He had a large mole on his dick, and when he put it in my mouth I bit down hard

Accused's doctor: There is no evidence of trauma on his penis or distinctive moles

NOT CREDIBLE

---

These are the only kinds of issues that I think can reasonably be weighted for a witness testimony. I don't think criminals should be excluded from justice. As with Lewinskygate, lies need to be evaluated in their appropriate context.

At minimum the maid needs a consistent recollection about the circumstances surrounding her assault, and the article does not dispute any details about her rape testimony.
posted by dgaicun at 3:42 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


NYT: "In addition, one of the officials said, she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application. She also told them that she had been subjected to genital mutilation, but her account to the investigators differed from what was contained in the asylum application."
It seems like it would be easy to tell if she'd had her genitals mutilated or not.
If this is true, it appears she cannot reliably recount details of rapes she is alleged to have undergone
No, it would mean she can't reliably remember what she put on a form she filled out who knows how long ago, not that she can't remember a rape. I don't even understand how you go from not remembering what she put on a form to not remembering what actually happened.

---
I am not sure why you would continue to view this person as someone who is either legally or morally reliable beyond a reasonable doubt as a source of testimony.
What does that mean exactly? What percentage of the population, out there in the world, do you think is "reliable" by the standard you are setting here? Is everyone who is unreliable incapable of being raped? Or if unreliable people are raped, should their rapists be prosecuted? I actually want to know what your answers are here.

If you're simply talking about the probability of winning the case, then I agree with you. Just last month a cop was acquitted of rape simply because the accuser was drunk. Drunkenness was enough for a jury to find her unreliable, despite no other problems with her. What chance would this woman have? But that has nothing to do with whether or not she was raped, right? Like the drunk woman, it's entirely possible that she was raped regardless of whether or not the prosecutor would get a conviction.
I'm not sure why people would be so sure that DSK did it (and delmoi, you explicitly stated it was more likely that he did)
Yes, and let me be clear that this is exactly what I'm saying. I think that, on the balance of evidence, it's more likely that DSK raped her then that she made it up. Because as I said, there's no way that they can both be innocent here. Either he sexually assulted her, and is a criminal, or she had consensual sex with him and then hatched and executed a plan to frame him for rape for some kind of material benefit. Which one is more likely?

You can say that the woman has a history of being unreliable, but DSK has a history of being accused of rape. Maybe all those other women are lying, but that seems pretty unlikely to me. So both the accuser and the accused have marks against them. But the mark against the accused seems more relevant to the situation.

To summarize, what I'm asking is, in terms of what actually happened, rather then what could get a conviction in front of a typical jury
1) various facts about the accuser make her unreliable, but unreliable people can still be raped, right?

2) How much does her unreliability change the likelihood of her having been sexually assaulted, and why?

3) Is 'unreliability' the same thing as a capacity to try to frame someone as a rapist, or is there a big jump between 'unreliability' and the kind of malicious sociopathy and recklessness needed to actually try to frame someone for rape?

4) What about DSK? How much does the fact that he's been accused of sexual assault change the likelihood that he tried to rape her? Does her 'unreliability' outweigh this fact?
posted by delmoi at 3:50 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


But I also don't think charges can be dismissed simply because the accuser has some some criminal dealings.

From The Guardian:
The newspaper says that police tape recorded a telephone conversation between the woman and a man in prison made on the day of the alleged rape in which the woman talked about the possible financial benefits that could come to her as a result of pursuing charges against Strauss-Kahn.
Oh yeah, that sounds like someone you could use to gain "beyond reasonable doubt" from a jury.

The thing is, there isn't even any evidence that this women has ever done anything wrong,

Reading is your friend, delmoi, although I know it's often considered optional at MeFi.

What is the problem with discussing which case is more likely?

Well, the thing is, whenever anyone does, you shout down anyone not wanting to string up one party as "pro-rape". Seems a bit dishonest to claim you just want a discussion.

My only point is to defend the woman. I don't really care about DSK he seems like an asshole.

So, mentioning the fact she's on a criminal payroll is "promoting rape" and we should "assume innocence", but mere accusation should brand anyone you've taken a dislike to a rapist?

I hope they keep you away from jury duty. Lynch mobs seem more your scene.

There needs to be some sort of reform here; perhaps criminal trials should be off the record until there is a guilty verdict. At the very least rape cases should be kept extremely secretive until the verdict for the benefit of both the accuser and the accused.

This is pretty much how I feel. The "presumption of innocence" was basically worthless in the world of the 24 hour news cycle, and even more so in the age of the 'net, for any serious or emotive crime.
posted by rodgerd at 4:11 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hadn't really been following this case but it is pretty rich that there are complaints in Europe about his name being publicly attached to this case when the French press have been publishing her name, photos and intimate details of her life. Not that they're, you know, trying to intimidate other women who may step forward with sexual assault claims that they will also be smeared in the press.
posted by saucysault at 4:42 AM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dominique Strauss-Kahn is wealthy. The alleged victim is poor. Therefore Strauss-Kahn is guilty. I don't know why they were even bothering with a trial in the first place. Right? Especially when it involves rape. The burden of proof for criminal charges that I find particularly repugnant should be much lower than for crimes that don't bother me much. People whom I find distasteful are not entitled to the same level of justice that my friends and family are, anyway.

Also, makinhg judgments based on pure ideology while disregarding evidence is damaging and wrong when right-wingers do it. When I do it, it's awesome.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:02 AM on July 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


"The [New York Times] says that police tape recorded a telephone conversation between the woman and a man in prison made on the day of the alleged rape in which the woman talked about the possible financial benefits that could come to her as a result of pursuing charges against Strauss-Kahn."

The NYT said "possible benefits" not "possible financial benefits". The Times summary of that conversation is irritatingly ambiguous. The insinuation is that the maid was maliciously extorting DSK with a false rape charge, but the premise of the article is simply that her "credibility" is falling apart. The insinuation is doubtful since extortion is a far more serious issue than "credibility" and would seemingly be the main story.

Also, if this private phone conversation contains any suggestions that she was actually raped, then that is strong evidence of her credibility, regardless of avarice.

I would rather have a transcript or audio file of that conversation or no knowledge of it at all. I don't understand who decides this? Is there some legal gatekeeper out there who thinks it's harmful for me to hear the recording but not harmful to get a biased summary of it?
posted by dgaicun at 5:09 AM on July 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dominique Strauss-Kahn is wealthy. The alleged victim is poor. Therefore Strauss-Kahn is guilty.

Mayor Curley, I think you're misrepresenting the evidence against him...

Although forensic tests found unambiguous evidence of a sexual encounter between Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a French politician, and the woman, prosecutors now do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself.

Strauss-Kahn isn't claiming this was consensual - he's claiming it didn't happen. It unambiguously did.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 5:12 AM on July 1, 2011



Dominique Strauss-Kahn is wealthy. The alleged victim is poor. Therefore Strauss-Kahn is guilty.
I am suspicious that enormous leverage is being put on the police, prosecutors, and the victim to support a scenario in which Strauss-Kahn goes free.

There's a lot that's good about the US system, including that we very rarely publish victims' photos and details; there's also a lot that isn't good, such as the speed at which someone can become convicted in the eyes of the public. Something that is exactly the same as it is in Europe is the imbalance in power between the very rich and the rest of us, and even more so when a person is both very rich and incredibly politically connected.

It wouldn't surprise me at all that the maid lied on her asylum application -- I would, too, if it meant the difference between being able to immigrate or staying in a very poor country. And it equally wouldn't surprise me that she had been involved, willingly or not, with money launderers and other criminals; those kinds of criminal enterprises have deep and long tentacles that reach into many people's lives, and a poor immigrant with questionable paperwork issues isn't going to be in a position to say no at every step.

But what would really sadden me is if those kinds of quite petty transgressions were to mean that her word about being raped had no value. The protection of the law needs to extend even to imperfect people. On the other hand, if it is true that she was caught discussing extortion options, I agree that that should devalue her claims about the reported crime, and in that case I would hope she is at some significant legal liability. Once you have started down that path, it's hard to see a way to unreservedly trust anything that is said.
posted by Forktine at 5:23 AM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


hese are the only kinds of issues that I think can reasonably be weighted for a witness testimony.

Yeah, but then we're back to square one:

Accuser: He raped me in his hotel room at 3:15 on a leather chair and the carpet was blue.

Accused: We had consensual sex in my hotel room at 3:15 on a leather chair and the carpet was blue.

Unless she's got fresh bruises or other demonstrable trauma to indicate rape, all we've got is "he said / she said." At which point the accuser's overall credibility has to come into play. Granted, it's usually a lot easier to discredit a witness than to prove them honest, but I suspect that this is why verdicts in criminal cases are not given as "innocent," but rather "not guilty." It's unfortunate that rape, as terrible as it is, is difficult to convict for, but given the consequences, the burden of proof has to be high.

Going forward, I think the most helpful thing to do would be to set up some kind of protocol / training for would-be rape victims which would outline a set of steps to take in order to be able to more definitively demonstrate that a rape has occurred.

With other crimes, there are often pieces of circumstantial evidence which are touted as being "something only the real criminal would know / do." It would be great for something like that to be developed for rape victims (and one that would distinguish it from consensual sex).

What these protocol would be, I don't know. Things like scratching with fingernails can be extremely useful and compelling, but aren't always possible, and a victim may be reluctant to fight back, fearing even more harm will come to them.

The only thing I can come up with is some sort of "sexual habit" which was not adhered to by the victim. For example, a promiscuous person who may have a hard time of convincing a jury of rape vs. consensual sex might have a ritual they ALWAYS perform before consensual sex. Something unforgettable to their partner, but not necessarily off-putting. Something like putting a breath mint in their mouth, or taking off an earring, or putting their hair in a scrunchie. Something they always, ALWAYS do before sex, so that the prosecution could produce character witnesses from her past who could corroborate this behavior, but which a rapist would not have seen (and even after he heard the other witnesses, he would still be confronted with a transcript of his original statement, which did not mention this action)

Again, I don't know if such a thing would work, or if there might be better ways of doing it. But I think it's worth looking into.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:25 AM on July 1, 2011


I hate it when Ben Stein is right.

Actually, Ben Stein said 'it's possible indeed, maybe even likely, that he is guilty as the prosecutors charge'.

He also said:
If he is such a womanizer and violent guy with women, why didn't he ever get charged until now?
Can anyone tell me of any heads of nonprofit international economic entities who have ever been charged and convicted of violent sexual crimes? Is it likely that just by chance this hotel maid found the only one in this category?
The prosecutors say that Mr. Strauss-Kahn "forced" the complainant to have oral and other sex with him. How? Did he have a gun? Did he have a knife?
And if he was so intimidating, why did she immediately feel un-intimidated enough to alert the authorities as to her story?
People accuse other people of crimes all of the time. What do we know about the complainant besides that she is a hotel maid?
Putting a man in Riker's is serious business. Maybe more than a few minutes of investigation is merited before it's done.


Whether Strauss-Kahn is innocent or guilty, Ben Stein's article remains breathtakingly prejudiced and ignorant about rape, class, criminality, criminal justice and probably half a dozen other areas I can't be bothered to wade through his bilge again to find.

This issue should not be discussed in terms of who is on Team Maid or Team Strauss-Kahn.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:25 AM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


The conspiracy theory suggests that Kahn's enemies engineered this.

Possibly more an ask issue, but if someone can cite other instances of legitimate businesses engaging criminals to get their enemies in this, or similar, sorts of way, I would be most interested. I'm sure it happens, I just can't think of any real life..

(Government misuse of criminal enforcement agencies need not apply.)
posted by IndigoJones at 6:08 AM on July 1, 2011


I wouldn't put it past Big Tobacco.

Oh...you said "legitimate."
posted by ShutterBun at 6:20 AM on July 1, 2011


This issue should not be discussed in terms of who is on Team Maid or Team Strauss-Kahn.

Busy Old Fool.
If only!
I am US-based with relatives in France. I can see today our team loyalties were unambiguously declared from day one -even though each side thought the other was being absurdly defensive.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:57 AM on July 1, 2011


Here's an alternate universe version of that story. Imagine a world where Hillary Clinton is (rumoured to be) a kleptomaniac. Nothing really serious, but people won't leave their personal belongings unattended while she's in the room. There have been (rumoured) incidents and even a (rumoured) shoplifting attempt at Saks Fifth Avenue, but no charges were ever pressed. In autumn 2007, she's leading all other Democratic candidates by wide margins in national polls and poised to become the next POTUS. Then, a few months before the primaries, while she's on a trip to France to discuss future US-France relationships, a North African shopkeeper in Paris claims that she put a gun to his face, butt-whipped him and took off with the cash register. The police catches her at Roissy airport, perp-walks a haggard Hillary in front of the world's media and throws her in jail. A couple of months later, it is revealed that the grocer is in contact with drug dealers, who may use his shop as a laundering front, and that he lied about several key points of his testimony.

if someone can cite other instances of legitimate businesses engaging criminals to get their enemies in this, or similar, sorts of way

The Clearstream affair was an elaborate attempt to smear Sarkozy. It is still being investigated and we still don't know who commissioned it.
posted by elgilito at 7:05 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thank you elgilito, right track, but s not quite sordid enough. Kick backs and bribes are a way of life in business and government, illegal but SOP. I'm thinking a stock listed business hiring professional criminals for dirty tricks. (If The Insider is anything to go by, and being Hollywood, it is suspect, the tobacco company's leaning on Russell Crowe was more overzealous employees rather than hired thugs.)
posted by IndigoJones at 7:13 AM on July 1, 2011


Well, you left out the part where Hillary Clinton was seen at the store at the time of the robbery, the store was robbed, and the shop-keeper was pistol-whipped.

Again I ask: If a famous person is accused of a crime and there is credible evidence that they are a suspect, should the police refuse to do their job simply because it could harm the reputation/career of the suspect?
posted by muddgirl at 7:14 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


DSK allies hope his presidential chances have been revived.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:14 AM on July 1, 2011


Well, you left out the part where Hillary Clinton was seen at the store at the time of the robbery, the store was robbed, and the shop-keeper was pistol-whipped

The store was robbed? The shop-keeper was pistol-whipped? There's no physical evidence of either, only his word.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:19 AM on July 1, 2011


Look, I'm not the one who made the terrible comparison between rape and robbery with a deadly weapon. But if we're going to try and make that comparison for some stupid reason, then we have to take it all the way. If Hillary Clinton claimed that the shop owner gave her the cash register out of his own free will, we'd be incredulous at best.
posted by muddgirl at 7:24 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing is, we don't even know if the cash register is missing (i.e. that a crime was committed), all we have is the word of the shopkeeper. Arresting someone based solely on accusation is bad business, in my book. They should have investigated further, although DSK's impending departure kind of forced their hand.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:32 AM on July 1, 2011


The facts of the incident are not in dispute. The cash register is undeniably missing. Hillary Clinton claims that she was given the cash register willingly. The shop keeper says it was taken by force.

Again, I didn't present this comparison. I am just lining it up with the facts at hand.
posted by muddgirl at 7:36 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Note that the Hillary story was not supposed to be an actual comparison or even a analogy (indeed, as a factual comparison it is terrible and does not make any sort of sense since HRC's imaginary kleptomania would not have been kept under wraps by the US press the way DSK's sexuality was by the French one). It's just a way to make people imagine how the story would be perceived and processed by the media if the nationalities of the "actors" were inverted.
posted by elgilito at 7:43 AM on July 1, 2011


Though you didn't start it, you're going to have to come up with a better correlation than equating the missing cash register with the known sexual encounter, since consensual sex is far more common than shopkeepers handing over cash registers.

It might be more helpful to suggest something like "Hillary was known to have been in the store, and left carrying an object. She claims she merely made a legitimate purchase, while the shopkeeper insists she stole the cash register."
posted by ShutterBun at 7:46 AM on July 1, 2011


Strauss-Kahn is, AFAIK a private citizen (although I don't know the exact structure of the IMF, it's clear that he does not exercise diplomatic immunity). If Secretary Clinton was arrested and perp-walked as a private citizen, most Americans would think that it's about time that crazy bitch got what she deserved.

Hillary was known to have been in the store, and left carrying an object. She claims she merely made a legitimate purchase, while the shopkeeper insists she stole the cash register

I obviously disagree. Again, the facts of the case are not in dispute. DSK admits that they had sexual intercourse. The housekeeper says that they had intercourse. The question is consent - was the cash register given freely or stolen? Personally, I wouldn't have mentioned the cash register at all, and made it a simple question of theft of an item vs. legitimate purchase. Or really, I wouldn't have been so narrow-focused as to equate rape with theft of property.
posted by muddgirl at 7:54 AM on July 1, 2011


Especially since a clear parallel is only one marriage certificate removed: Bill Clinton has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and is a known philanderer. A legitimate question would be: "What would the American and international reaction be to Clinton being arrested and perp-walked at CDG airport for raping an immigrant housekeeper in France?"
posted by muddgirl at 7:57 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


muddgirl: ""What would the American and international reaction be to Clinton being arrested and perp-walked at CDG airport for raping an immigrant housekeeper in France?""

I suppose that depends when, but some would be immeasurably pleased at all but the timing and would have preferred that it happened while he was still President, even if it did happen in France and not one of the "Coalition of the Willing"
posted by mkb at 8:30 AM on July 1, 2011


He has now been released from house arrest.
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on July 1, 2011


Liveblog of hearing and dueling press conferences
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:23 AM on July 1, 2011


Dominique Strauss-Kahn is wealthy. The alleged victim is poor. Therefore Strauss-Kahn is guilty. I don't know why they were even bothering with a trial in the first place. Right? Especially when it involves rape. The burden of proof for criminal charges that I find particularly repugnant should be much lower than for crimes that don't bother me much. People whom I find distasteful are not entitled to the same level of justice that my friends and family are, anyway.


Dominique Strauss-Kahn is against US interests. The alleged victim associates with criminals. Therefore Strauss-Kahn is innocent (and was obviously set up by the CIA). I don't know why they even arrested him in the first place. Everybody knows women just love to make up rape accusations all the time. There was that one guy in Vegas, remember?

Rich white dudes really are the truly oppressed.
posted by kmz at 9:40 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Letter from the DA to the DSK Defense Team

DA's office says that the accuser perjured herself on her asylum application which referred to being severely and violently oppressed by her home country government, admitted the perjury but then proceeded to provide an alternative account of being gangraped in her home country which she later also admitted was false.

Also: the accuser gave conflicting accounts of what happened on day of alleged assault.
Also: the accuser has admitted to lying on her tax returns and for her housing benefits/support application.

Accuser also suspected of lying to the DA's team about variety of other things.
posted by Bwithh at 9:44 AM on July 1, 2011


Also: the accuser gave conflicting accounts of what happened on day of alleged assault.
Or more specifically, the accuser admitted that the account she gave the Grand Jury was incorrect in at least one major detail - after the alleged incident, the accuser proceeded to clean a nearby room, and then after finishing that, went back to DSK's room and started cleaning up, and after some time then reported the incident to her supervisor
posted by Bwithh at 9:48 AM on July 1, 2011


Why the NYT still rules

sidebar: The NYT is still pretty-good-to-awesome in many ways, I think it's important to point out that the original report wasn't really a result of ace reporting and investigative journalism. this point here is not to be picky and dismissive about the fine journalists and editors at The Times. The point is that the article should primarily be considered as a carefully planned, crafted and controlled leak to the NYT by the DA's office. The NYT article and the release of the letter to the DSK defense team etc. are being stage managed by the DA's office as a means of damage control. The head of the NYC DA sex crimes unit resigned June 29 in the middle of this, the biggest sex crimes case of her career, but the fallout for the DA's office is just starting and they're trying to control the impact to their own careers too.
posted by Bwithh at 9:56 AM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Brace for major I Told You Sos from those who insisted it was a set up all along."

>You mean... ALL OF FRANCE?!

Hurf durf aside, a couple of weeks ago El Pais devoted their main article to the DSK case being a watershed moment in France, as many women came forward to report rape cases and a rep of a women-support organisation thought the incident would change the culture of reporting rape in France for good. Quite an interesting feature.
posted by ersatz at 10:00 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


she now admits that after the episode, she cleaned a nearby room, then returned to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite to clean there. Only after that did she report to her supervisor that she had been attacked.
...
Since her initial allegation on May 14, the accuser has repeatedly lied, one of the law enforcement officials said.


Aside from what now looks like a history of lying when its in her interest to do so (e.g., on various applications), her version of the event itself will seem less than credible to many juries who will have trouble believing that in the aftermath of a forcible rape, she cleans another room and then also cleans the scene of the alleged crime.

In light of the "emphatic" pronouncements of the DA's office, this is all very embarrassing, to say the least.
posted by Hylas at 10:02 AM on July 1, 2011


Bwithh, after suffering severe trauma some people act on instinct while in while in shock. I can see how she was embarrassed to have acted that way and knew it would not be seen as rational behaviour so didn't mention it. ANY woman that has been raped has an internal debate about revealing the information because we all see media cases where the victim is vilified in the press. The behaviour of other victims of crime that rely on witness credibility (car accidents. robbery etc) simply do not hold the same severe level of scrutiny by disbelieving police/prosecutors.
posted by saucysault at 10:04 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


the article should primarily be considered as a carefully planned, crafted and controlled leak to the NYT by the DA's office.

This is clearly true and I was a little overenthusiastic in my excitement over the big scoop. But it does take some work - sometimes years worth - to gain the trust to be leaked to.


Meanwhile, that letter is devastating. How can any prosecutor go to trial for rape with an accuser who has lied...about rape? DSK is either a true victim - or the luckiest man in town.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:05 AM on July 1, 2011


But it does take some work - sometimes years worth - to gain the trust to be leaked to.
Certainly. There must have been some very red (or green with envy) faces at the Wall Street Journal.
posted by Bwithh at 10:06 AM on July 1, 2011


Not to mention Le Monde!
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:10 AM on July 1, 2011


Bwithh, after suffering severe trauma some people act on instinct while in while in shock.
This is certainly true, and I think the prosecutors would have taken this into account. But the pattern of perjury (on the asylum application, possibly in front of the grand jury) and lying on official forms (besides various other apparent lies) is probably the much bigger concern for the DA's team.

(though perhaps the head of the DA's sex crimes unit resigned because she saw that the DA was turning against the accuser but she herself still supported the accuser's story.)
posted by Bwithh at 10:12 AM on July 1, 2011


Isn't lying to the grand jury really bad? Like definite perjury charge bad.
posted by smackfu at 10:13 AM on July 1, 2011


I guess to me, to seems like the investigators have been looking for a reason for her to be a liar (why are they even asking her about the asylum application? What does that have to do with the current case?) I can see her motivation to lie on that application (status in the US), I can see the motivation for lying about a dependant on tax forms (money/housing in notoriously expensive NYC) and I can see how if her history involves people in authority not being protectors (regardless of her personal experience, this was the reality of the country she grew up in) and not trusting people in authority because they have a past history of abusing their power.

But why would she lie about this rape though? It isn't to cover up a possible pregnancy (one popular reason to claim rape), it isn't for money (usually the threat to go to police and accuse someone of a crime is the reason to get the blackmail - going to the police reduces her power), she wasn't in trouble at work that we know of (and I am sure we would have heard about a history of her slacking off). So why would she lie about THIS rape - with THIS person? Even without the media releasing her name, everyone at work would have known she was raped and there is still a huge stigma to being a rape survivor with doubts and disbelief in the innocence of the accuser even among close family and friends. For one thing, she knew she could only cry rape once so she better save a fake rape for one that gained her the maximum benefit.

And if we are going to hold her accountable for her past behaviour (she lied in the past! ergo, she is lying now!). Then we have to hold him to the same standard (he has sexually assaulted in the past! ergo, he is sexually assaulting now!) Why is he getting the benefit of the doubt? Maybe something to do with the power dynamics between the wealthy and poor, socially connected and marginalised, men with "natural urges" and "slutty" women, johns and prostitutes (since I read she was accused of being a prostitute, if that is true and he skipped out without paying it becomes non-consential sex), unsure immigration status vs secure status, native english speakers and fluency (with an "acceptable accent"), and a million other dynamics that affect the events and people's perception of the events that are happening.

I thought the reason prior sexual behaviour was inadmissible in court was to prevent this exact scenario (sluts and prostitutes are asking to be raped, liars can't be raped, only good single white virgins can be raped). This character defamation (and there is no proof that she has accused other named, wealthy, powerful men as rapists) makes me sad, but it is the same story that always gets trotted out when a woman dares to accuse a wealthy, powerful man of being a rapist.
posted by saucysault at 10:44 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The thing is, there isn't even any evidence that this women has ever done anything wrong,

Reading is your friend, delmoi, although I know it's often considered optional at MeFi.
Er, that's a pretty poorly written statement on my part. I think what I meant was that there wasn't any evidence that she had ever done anything really malicious, like falsely accuse someone of rape. She may be that holding on to people's money or getting cell phones for people may be illegal somehow. Personally I don't consider those things to be major moral transgressions.
Well, the thing is, whenever anyone does, you shout down anyone not wanting to string up one party as "pro-rape". Seems a bit dishonest to claim you just want a discussion.
I never once used the term "pro-rape". How am I calling anyone "pro-rape"? I just think that in this specific case the evidence makes it look more likely that DSK actually tried to rape her then that she made the whole story up. In fact, I maybe I missed it but who in this thread thinks that it's actually likely that there was consensual sex between these two and that she made up the rape claim later. Do you really believe that's more likely?

In fact, let me repeat that: How many people actually belive that it's more likely the two had consensual sex, followed by her trying to frame him for rape? Is that what you honestly think?
The store was robbed? The shop-keeper was pistol-whipped? There's no physical evidence of either, only his word.
We know for a fact that DSK had sex with this maid. Are you not aware of that fact? The question is whether or not it was consensual. In your example, it would be like Hillary Clintons DNA was found on the cash register, and she claimed the shop keeper gave it to her as a gift, or something. But people don't often give gifts of cash registers, they do frequently have sex with each other. That's why the analogy doesn't hold.

A better example would be if Bill Clinton were accused of raping a French maid, and they found his DNA on her.

---

Anyway, now that the DA's letter is out, it does make the case seem even more problematic. If she at first told the police she was gang raped, and then later recanted, then that's a much bigger problem. It's a lie that's directly relevant to the situation, unlike other things that are sort of tangential. But that wasn't in the NYT article -- all they said was that she had been incorrect when saying she had said she'd been raped on her asylum application.

Hmm, what a mess.
posted by delmoi at 10:46 AM on July 1, 2011



Isn't lying to the grand jury really bad? Like definite perjury charge bad.


Probably. But from the prosecution's standpoint, their entire case is based on the statements of the complaining witness. A complaining witness with a history of perjury, including perjured claims of prior rape, who then goes on to go about her regular duties...

after suffering severe trauma some people act on instinct while in while in shock.

That isn't helpful when your burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. . Even with an expert that might say "some people" do this, it would not be enough because the most you'll get from an expert in court would be statements that leave room for doubt. And that's the prosecution's expert.
posted by Hylas at 10:50 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


That isn't helpful when your burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

I agree, but they should also be asking whether it is beyond a reasonable doubt that a worker struggling pay-cheque to pay-cheque would interrupt and risk her paid employment to have random, unpaid anal sex with a man she did not know.
posted by saucysault at 10:59 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


why are they even asking her about the asylum application? What does that have to do with the current case?

They're asking her about it because the defense would ask her about it. They need to know anything the defense will use to discredit her.
posted by Justinian at 10:59 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree, but they should also be asking whether it is beyond a reasonable doubt that a worker struggling pay-cheque to pay-cheque would interrupt and risk her paid employment to have random, unpaid anal sex with a man she did not know.

No, they shouldn't. She isn't on trial. Only the defendant is granted that benefit.
posted by Justinian at 11:00 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, they shouldn't. She isn't on trial. Only the defendant is granted that benefit.

Exactly. I find that these conversations often devolve into people discussing the legal system in the way they want it to work or the way it "should" work in their eyes, rather than how it actually operates. When it's pointed out that the legal system is structured a certain way with very specific institutional constraints, people protest that it simply favors the rich or the powerful or that rape cases should be different or whatever, but that's an entirely different conversation than what is likely to happen in these legal proceedings. Is it fair that someone's past behavior may totally discredit her in the face of a jury? Maybe not, but in a he-said-she-said case, credibility is what the case rests on. If credibility is lost, the prosecution is de facto lost as well.
posted by proj at 11:04 AM on July 1, 2011


I agree, but they should also be asking whether it is beyond a reasonable doubt that a worker struggling pay-cheque to pay-cheque would interrupt and risk her paid employment to have random, unpaid anal sex with a man she did not know.

No, no, no. That is asking the jury to decide if the defendant has proven a theory of innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, that is emphatically not the standard. That is not a standard that provides a presumption of innocence. Maybe you don't think the presumption of innocence is a good thing, but don't pretend like asking the jury to answer that question is anything other than asking the defendant to prove their innocence.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:04 AM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


She may be that holding on to people's money or getting cell phones for people may be illegal somehow. Personally I don't consider those things to be major moral transgressions.

Who cares what you think there re morality? Being shown to be an accessory to such crime would get you convicted on at least a couple of major felony charges, in most US jurisdictions.
posted by raysmj at 11:16 AM on July 1, 2011


According to The New Yorker's recounting of details from Le Monde's coverage, the specific turning point where the cops started to disbelieve the accuser ( and consequently presumably the DA started investigating her background more deeply ) was when someone she identified as her brother turned out not to be her brother but a boyfriend.
posted by Bwithh at 11:23 AM on July 1, 2011


(she lied in the past! ergo, she is lying now!)

More like, "she lied in the past, ergo we can't convince a jury she's telling the truth now." There's a difference.



random, unpaid anal sex

She said he forced her to perform oral, not anal, sex.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:26 AM on July 1, 2011


It's unclear what the maid's immigration status is right now, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned that "victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime and who are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity" may be eligible for a green card.
posted by shivohum at 11:28 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well the District Attorney letter is much more damning than the original, and ambiguous, article in the New York Times article from last night.

Her admission of perjury in inventing her prior rape claim (which included an Oscar-winning performance) is hard to dismiss as irrelevant, and her failure to provide a consistent account of the incident is indeed a fully adequate "reasonable doubt" for a case like this.

So why would she lie about THIS rape - with THIS person?

I don't think a motive is required to enter the reasonable doubt into this case. The maid is not on trial, DSK is on trial. By this stronger standard of evidence (i.e. 'prove that she's lying', rather than 'prove there's a reasonable doubt') every rape case should necessarily end in either the conviction of the accuser or accused.

However, since the facts in the DA letter are much more damning than the way they were described in the initial Times article, the facts surrounding the taped phone conversation are probably as damning as originally implied. It's easy to believe that she saw an opportunity in making this accusation. And if this is the case I hope she is turned into the new defendant and faces legal consequences every bit as severe as the consequences originally faced by DSK.
posted by dgaicun at 11:44 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another aspect of this case's context is that since the 1970s, the Manhattan District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit has been considered to be a trailblazer and national pioneer (the chief of the unit in this documentary is the one who resigned June 29) in taking alleged rape victims' cases seriously and with attention to correcting past power imbalances and biases in the system.

That doesn't mean that it's perfect in any way, of course, but when people talk about systemic imbalances and biases stacked against alleged rape victims ( especially those with marginalized social status) while this is, I think, true as a broad generalization, Manhattan has the reputation of being one major place where the legal system has worked hard to right these imbalances (as seen, for instance, in the speed with which the NYPD believed the accuser's initial report in this instance and rushed to the airport to arrest DSK).
posted by Bwithh at 11:55 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bwithh linked this article earlier, which notes:

Her original lawyer, Jeffrey Shapiro, and renowned civil rights lawyer, Norman Siegel, are off her case and neither will say why. Siegel, a stalwart defender of the First Amendment, was uncharacteristically sparse in his explanation by phone: “I can only say I am not representing her.” Shapiro did not return a phone call and email request for an explanation.

Now, I've only peripherally followed the DSK story, and know only the basics. I do not have an opinion about whether the woman lied, or what she might have lied about. The withdrawal of her counsel, however, raises a red flag for me. There are fairly serious professional and ethical considerations that must be dealt with upon withdrawal, at least in my experience, and it's not likely that these guys withdrew just because they decided they didn't want to handle the case. Again, I know nothing about the facts and drawing a firm conclusion based on the withdrawal would be going to far, but nonetheless, it makes me wonder.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:09 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I asked

I wonder if there is any action, other than an admission by the accuser, which would be sufficient for you to not have already convicted this guy

The long answer ..

I'm not talking about "reasonable doubt" here, I'm talking about what's likely to have happened. What I don't understand is what exactly it is that makes people think it's so much less likely that she was raped.

Which pretty much says no, there is no action other then the admission by the accuser that you will accept. Pretty amazing.
posted by rr at 12:09 PM on July 1, 2011


How many people actually belive that it's more likely the two had consensual sex, followed by her trying to frame him for rape?

I no-longer care; it no-longer matters whether it was rape or consensual, because the correct and moral thing to do in this situation (if it is being reported fairly and accurately) is to not continue prosecuting the alleged, because there is insurmountable reasonable doubt.

I agree that she could be entirely reliable on the facts of this encounter. But there is no way to know that beyond reasonable doubt, so it is not relevant.

If you are in fact arguing that her previous lies and perjuries are so reliably and demonstrably disconnected from the credibility of her current accusation, that we can put aside our doubts and safely incarcerate someone on her word, I don't think you'll find very many people in that camp at all.

It no-longer matters what happened. And that's a great pity. And we should change that if we can figure out a way to change it, but I can't think of a way, and in this particular case, it seems unlikely that anyone else will either. :-/

Arguably, perhaps the correct and moral thing to do could also include profiling the alleged - keeping a closer eye on him in the future, though not in such a manner as to damage his life.
posted by anonymisc at 12:11 PM on July 1, 2011


The reason it’s nearly impossible for the prosecution to pursue these charges, even though there’s no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime, is because we live in a culture where rape victims need to be flawless in order to be believed.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:39 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wasn't talking about. A court of law but the public court of opinion where the narrative that poor black women are sluts is considered more believable than a rich, smart white man is a rapist. Because in our society and media that truth is too uncomfortable for other people of priviledge.
posted by saucysault at 12:51 PM on July 1, 2011


It's getting pretty deep in here and it looks like hard-fast ideological positions are going to win out over any consideration of the facts or due process.
posted by proj at 12:54 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


If a women with "credibility problems" can't testify on her own behalf about rape, then all a rapist would have to do would be to look for girls who they think wouldn't have credibility on the stand, rape them, and get off scott free.

People in this situation are in a tough corner, but they are not abandoned by society - people are constantly working to push the envelope in developing ways to demonstrate coercion that will stand up even when the witness is not reliable (from drugged unconscious, to perjured). Evidence is often kept on file against a day when new techniques could make a prosecution possible.

Idle musing... we teach The Boy Who Cried Wolf to our children, and it's this exact story (the boy's past actions give him credibility problems which leaves him at the mercy of the wolves, who can thus kill him viciously without consequence, and do just that), but while being eaten by wolves is an easy-to-grasp consequence for children, a lot of the gravity of the message is lost because we're just not in danger from wolves.
A modern urban realistic version of the story might have merit, showing how credibility issues make you helpless, which makes you not just vulnerable, but a target. An easy, helpless, magnet for human predators.

Hmm... is The Boy Who Cried Wolf considered an example of victim-blaming?
posted by anonymisc at 1:00 PM on July 1, 2011


There are a lot of factors in play here. Even if – and this is a big assumption – the DA still believes the maid's side of the story, they have to be weighing the likelihood of a conviction given what they now know and given what is likely to be DSK's high-powered, no-holds-barred defense.

After those NYPD cops were recently acquitted in another high-profile "authority figure allegedly rapes woman with imperfect credibility" case, what message would another, potentially inevitable acquittal send? Sure it would make the DA look bad, but it could also have an even bigger chilling effect on victims coming forward in the future, if that's what we're concerned about with them dropping the charges here.

Who stands to benefit from a quixotic prosecution here? I'm going with the professionals' judgment.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 1:01 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wasn't talking about. A court of law but the public court of opinion where the narrative that poor black women are sluts is considered more believable than a rich, smart white man is a rapist. Because in our society and media that truth is too uncomfortable for other people of privilege.

This woman has already lied about being raped in the past, and lied about many other things pertinent to the case as well (i.e. her activities immediately following the alleged rape). The chances of conviction now stand at zero.

Maybe I'm just too rich and white to understand, but I don't see what her blackness has to do with anything.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:05 PM on July 1, 2011


The reason it’s nearly impossible for the prosecution to pursue these charges, even though there’s no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime, is because we live in a culture where rape victims need to be flawless in order to be believed.
This is totally false.

"Even though there's no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime"?

The letter from the prosecution to the defense directly and unequivocally says that she lied about about things related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime. To the police who were investigating the alleged crime.

Among, incidentally, other things, including previous lies, under oath, that she was raped, and other lies under oath. And "a variety of additional topics".
posted by Flunkie at 1:05 PM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


That post is making the same criticisms we were before the release of the DA letter. I assume mandymanwasregistered hasn't been following the discussion.
posted by dgaicun at 1:11 PM on July 1, 2011


Possibly more an ask issue, but if someone can cite other instances of legitimate businesses engaging criminals to get their enemies in this, or similar, sorts of way, I would be most interested. I'm sure it happens, I just can't think of any real life..
Here you go IndigoJones!
posted by vivelame at 1:25 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The issue here isn't that the accuser isn't "perfect", it's that she has lied repeatedly, including lying under oath, including lying about this case.
posted by Justinian at 1:48 PM on July 1, 2011


press conference video by accuser's lawyer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ5QanQtCd8&feature=youtu.be
(may be NSFW because of graphic details)

Lawyer says that by the DA's team lost their temper with accuser in inappropriate way.

also implies conflict of interest in the DA office based on his interpretation of this NYT article from June 19
posted by Bwithh at 2:04 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


delmoi: "all a rapist would have to do would be to look for girls who they think wouldn't have credibility on the stand, rape them, and get off scott free."

I think that's the standard modus operandi for rapists, actually.
posted by falameufilho at 2:39 PM on July 1, 2011


It just occurred to me that Roman Polanski is probably pretty fucking happy the case against DSK is falling apart.
posted by falameufilho at 2:44 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the press rebuttal by the maid's lawyer, Bwithh.

At the very least it is increasing my understanding of the case. There is indeed more evidence to this then "he said, she said", including physical injuries and forensic evidence that are inconsistent with consensual sexual encounters.

- Bruised vagina [sic, vulva?] from being violently gripped
- Torn ligament in shoulder from being thrown on ground that may require surgery
- Torn clothing (rips in her stockings)
- She spit semen all over room on wall and floor while running from room (forensic evidence)

In lieu of this kind of evidence, I don't believe the inconsistent testimony about her actions after the rape adds enough reasonable doubt for me to dismiss the case anymore.

The lawyer notes that all the lies associated with her asylum process were voluntarily confessed by the accuser ahead of time for the sake of her case (not uncovered by investigation). That's a risky move for a liar.

Her lawyer also claims that the rape in Africa did occur; although this directly contradicts the DA's statement. I'm going to refrain from further comments on this case because clearly all the relevant evidence is not available to me. I hate this process of eating crow as bits and pieces of new information are arbitrarily fed in by the media.
posted by dgaicun at 3:04 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Exactly. I find that these conversations often devolve into people discussing the legal system in the way they want it to work or the way it "should" work in their eyes, rather than how it actually operates.
Well, first of all we should remember that the legal system is pretty different when you're a millionaire, and when you're not. If this happened at a motel 6 and the guy was working with a public defender, what do you think would have happened? Would any of this have even come up?

I'm certainly not saying that's how it should be at all. I just think that a lot of the facts outlined in the NYT article don't really seem like it that less likely that she was raped - since they don't have much baring on whether or not she would lie about being raped. The one major point is that she claimed, and then later recanted being raped in her native country.

But anyway, I think in practice juries do not take the 'reasonable doubt' standard very seriously at all. If they did I think conviction rates would be a lot lower.
Well the District Attorney letter is much more damning than the original, and ambiguous, article in the New York Times article from last night.
Yeah, the DA letter is much more problematic then the NYT article.
Which pretty much says no, there is no action other then the admission by the accuser that you will accept. Pretty amazing.
And yet, I've already posted comments talking about how much more compelling the DA letter is. So obviously you were wrong about that. I didn't think what was in the NYT article was enough for me to think that a rape probably didn't happen.

There are two issues here: 1) Was this woman sexually assaulted in fact and 2) could a DA prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. I didn't think the NYT article was enough to say that 1 wasn't true. After the DA article, I'm less sure. But at the same time I don't think it's impossible that it happened.
I no-longer care; it no-longer matters whether it was rape or consensual, because the correct and moral thing to do in this situation (if it is being reported fairly and accurately) is to not continue prosecuting the alleged, because there is insurmountable reasonable doubt.
You don't care whether or not she was raped? Seriously? Whether or not there is 'insurmountable' reasonable doubt is a decision that a jury would make, not a prosecutor. A prosecutor may drop a case they don't think they'll win. But it's not immoral to prosecute someone you think is guilty just because it would be hard to get a conviction.

Furthermore, this isn't a courtroom it's a message board. The fact of whether or not he raped her is a perfectly reasonable thing to discuss.

So I ask again: Seriously, is there anyone here who actually think the maid had consensual sex, then decided to try to frame him? Is there anyone here who thinks that. And if not, what's wrong with saying he probably did assault her? Like I said, it has to be one or the other.

After the DA letter, I'm not as sure as I was. But I still think, on the balance, he probably did it.

"Even though there's no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime"?
The letter from the prosecution to the defense directly and unequivocally says that she lied about about things related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime. To the police who were investigating the alleged crime.


That fact wasn't in the NYT article, and the letter hadn't been released when I wrote that comment.
It just occurred to me that Roman Polanski is probably pretty fucking happy the case against DSK is falling apart.
Polanski was already convicted. He skipped out before sentencing, so there wouldn't need to be another trial if he were ever caught.
posted by delmoi at 3:37 PM on July 1, 2011


The reason it’s nearly impossible for the prosecution to pursue these charges, even though there’s no evidence that she lied about anything related to the actual events surrounding the alleged crime, is because we live in a culture where rape victims need to be flawless in order to be believed.

What a disturbingly insane blog that is -- the general vibe is that nothing short of her saying on public television that she lied is enough to not convict this guy of rape. And even then probably some man should be convicted for making her want to lie.
posted by rr at 3:39 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


That fact wasn't in the NYT article, and the letter hadn't been released when I wrote that comment.
What comment? I was quoting mandymanwasregistered, who was quoting someone named Jill on the website feministe.us. I wasn't responding to you.
posted by Flunkie at 3:54 PM on July 1, 2011


What a disturbingly insane blog that is

It definitely has that ideological zealot vibe. And ideological zealotry (the type that doesn't admit for complexities, hence "victims need to be flawless in order to be believed" or, for example, "with us or against us") doesn't tolerate anything other than binary thinking because it's inherently defensive and, though unable to admit it to itself, profoundly weak to rational argument. Might as well be a link to Free Republic.
posted by chimaera at 3:56 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It just occurred to me that Roman Polanski is probably pretty fucking happy the case against DSK is falling apart.

I do not understand. Polanski's attorneys have filed to have the case dismissed based on alleged prosecutorial misconduct. There is no such thing alleged here. Go read up on the case, which you can do in about 80,000 different places on the Internet.
posted by raysmj at 4:14 PM on July 1, 2011


There must have been some very red (or green with envy) faces at the Wall Street Journal.

classic retaliation

WSJ: Manhattan DA Is Put on Defensive
Vance's About-Face on Bail in Sexual-Assault Case Follows Two High-Profile Court Defeats for Office

posted by CunningLinguist at 5:00 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, my take on this:
Is DSK going to be convicted? Almost certainly not.
Is he guilty? He's innocent until proven guilty. And I don't think he'll be proven guilty.
Is he going to be rehabilitated, then? No. His reputation is forever damaged, not just by these accusations, but by the focus that they've brought on his lifestyle. An admitted philandering high roller running for office as a left-wing candidate in the middle of Europe-wide austerity measures? Not fucking likely. And even if he had a chance, I doubt that after this experience he's looking forward to an election campaign. Whoever he decides to back, however, will have his (or, more probably, her) chances strongly improved.
Was he set up? We'll probably never know. On one hand, a lot of people could have a motive, from political adversaries to speculators who may have made a mint in the market turmoil following his arrest. On the other hand, I'm slightly cynical about seeing the accusation's case against somebody with such a high-flying defense team suddenly collapse. Those lawyers don't charge 1000$ an hour just for looking good in a suit, you know.
What will happen to his accuser? Whether she said the truth or not, a world of hurt, I'm afraid. And that, sadly enough, was almost a foregone conclusion once she went to the police. While I agree with everybody that the French press has been despicable in revealing not just her name , but also a wealth of details about her life, maybe the NY DA should also review how to handle this kind of high profile cases. When you make such a show, it's almost inevitable that some spotlight falls onto the (alleged) victim.
posted by Skeptic at 5:05 PM on July 1, 2011


Whoever he decides to back, however, will have his (or, more probably, her) chances strongly improved.

No doubt a defense theory, had this ever gone to trial.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:25 PM on July 1, 2011


What a disturbingly insane blog that is -- the general vibe is that nothing short of her saying on public television that she lied is enough to not convict this guy of rape. And even then probably some man should be convicted for making her want to lie.
rr: you're not answering my question: Do you really, seriously believe that she had consensual sex with DSK, then on the spot decided to frame him for rape? Is that what you think happened?

I'm not talking about getting a conviction, I'm talking about what you think actually happened. Do you think it's likely that he raped her, but not beyond a reasonable doubt? Or do you seriously think this was consensual sex?
Is he guilty? He's innocent until proven guilty. And I don't think he'll be proven guilty.
So do you think, then the maid is guilty of fabricating the whole thing? Again, what do you think actually happened the hotel room? Either he raped her, or they had consensual sex and then she decided to frame him.

Again, I havn't heard a single person in this thread affirmatively state that they think the maid decided to frame DSK after giving him a blowjob. But if he didn't sexually assault her, that's what happened.
posted by delmoi at 5:32 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Feministe post is just breathtaking in its ignorance. "She lied repeatedly to the police about significant details of the alleged rape" is "victim-blaming", apparently?
posted by kafziel at 5:34 PM on July 1, 2011


"She lied repeatedly to the police about significant details of the alleged rape"
Where does it say that? They said she might have lied while talking about whether or not she had been raped in the past, before she came to the U.S.
posted by delmoi at 5:49 PM on July 1, 2011


What does that mean exactly? What percentage of the population, out there in the world, do you think is "reliable" by the standard you are setting here? Is everyone who is unreliable incapable of being raped? Or if unreliable people are raped, should their rapists be prosecuted? I actually want to know what your answers are here.

I think that prosecutors should not proceed with cases with no practical chance of success (especially since aside from the resource issues it is often a further trauma for a raped woman to go through the trial). A case where the police investigators are themselves bad character witnesses against the accused due to a history of lies given during the investigation the case and serious questions over the reliability of previous claims of sexual assault and rape isn't one that should be proceeded with, no. It won't be won, is a waste of resources, and dissuades other victims from coming forward. It also has to be said that at this point even the DA has said that they have questions about the story, and has gone into issues of false legal statements in the letter.

Luckily, that isn't a very high percentage of cases. Call it 1-2%, maybe? Most people don't demonstrably lie so much whilst they are the victim. This means on occasion guilty people will go free; that is acceptable, since that's the price you pay for protecting the liberties of the innocent.

Let me ask you a question that I asked you but you didn't answer: if DSK didn't do it, do you think that losing his job; hugely complicating a shot at being the President of France; being down the cost of legal representation and court imposed costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars; being unemployable due to PR issues and being publicly humiliated is a fair outcome for DSK? I just want to know if you have any consideration for the accused at all or if a mere rape accusation is a scarlet letter for you.
posted by jaduncan at 5:51 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not talking about getting a conviction, I'm talking about what you think actually happened. Do you think it's likely that he raped her, but not beyond a reasonable doubt? Or do you seriously think this was consensual sex?

I don't think it's possible to know, on the facts presented. How could we?
posted by jaduncan at 5:53 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cunninglinguist, the complaint here specifies anal and oral sex.
posted by saucysault at 5:55 PM on July 1, 2011


"She lied repeatedly to the police about significant details of the alleged rape"
Where does it say that? They said she might have lied while talking about whether or not she had been raped in the past, before she came to the U.S.
Assuming that by "it" you mean "the letter sent by the prosecutors to the defense", and by "they" you mean "the prosecutors", I have no idea where you got that idea from.

The letter directly says, regarding the incident that you are referring to, "She stated that she fabricated the statement". No "might have" about it - they say she says she lied.

And the letter is full of language like that:

"Admitted that the above factual information, which she provided in connection with her asylum application, was false".

"Admitted that the gang rape never occurred."

"Stated that she had lied".

"Has since admitted that this account was false". (That one is directly related to the case in question, not about the previous time that she claimed she was raped).

"Stated that for the past two years, she declared a friend's child in addition to her own as a dependent on her tax returns for the purpose of increasing her tax refund beyond that to which she was entitled."

"Admitted to misrepresenting her income".

"Was untruthful with district attorneys about a variety of additional topics".

Where did you get this "might have" from?
posted by Flunkie at 6:09 PM on July 1, 2011


Where does it say that? They said she might have lied while talking about whether or not she had been raped in the past, before she came to the U.S.

a) No, they didn't say she 'might' have lied about the past rape. Page 2, para 3 states "During both of these interviews, the victim cried and appeared to be markedly distraught when recounting the incident. In subsequent interviews, she admitted that the gang rape never occurred. Instead, she stated that she had lied about its occurrence and fabricated the details, and that this false incident was part of the narrative that she had been directed to memorize as part of her asylum application process".

b) the next para states that the original story was that she fled the room and stayed in the hallway till the accused left but that "complainant has since admitted that this account was false and that after the incident in Suite 2806, she then procceded to clean a nearby room and then returned to Suite 2806 and began to clean the suite before she reported the crime.

Just to reiterate, that's an admitted "fabricated" "false incident" about the past rape claim, and admitted false testimony about the current rape claim.
posted by jaduncan at 6:10 PM on July 1, 2011


The missing cell phone ... was one of several phones DSK had with him.

Duh duh duh!

So we've got one person who lied about some stuff in the past including the specifics of one previous (as in, different, unrelated) sexual assault (that she still alleges occurred, just differently than first reported), and another person who has allegedly lied about numerous sexual assaults in the past. And both of them have several cell phones! Who to trust?! Who is the victim of a vicious smear?!

Yeah, after reading the letter from the DA to the defense attorneys, I'm still with delmoi. I don't see anything in there that is particularly relevant to the allegations. My version of Occam's Razor still favors the "DSK did rape her" explanation with the facts as I know them at present - previous history of falsely claiming that he did not commit sexual assaults seems a bit more relevant in the he-said/she-said debate in this particular case.(*)

I'm under no illusion that the US justice system works the way I think it "should" in such cases, and if I were a betting woman, I wouldn't put any money on DSK getting convicted. But given that we all here still do not have all of the evidence that will be presented to the jury, isn't it pretty fruitless to discuss what we think will/should happen legally? Given our lack of the evidence that will be presented in this case, aren't we kind of de facto discussing what we think, morally, is the actual truth of the matter rather than the legal case?

So unless some specific questions are being asked and answered about the legal process, maybe we could relax a bit and assume that we're all we're doing the True Crime/armchair detective/talking out of our asses routine?

(We should keep in mind that this is what we're doing, of course, and always refer to the alleged sexual assault, to keep ourselves honest, of course.)

(*) Yes, this is partially informed by the fact that far more women/people in vulnerable circumstances (such as prostitutes (see also), native women, immigrants with precarious legal standing, and need I mention Ciudad Juarez?) seem to be victims of sexual violence than men/people seem to get falsely accused of sexual assault (statistics seem to vary, with caveats) in the news that I read.
posted by eviemath at 7:39 PM on July 1, 2011


dgaicun : There is indeed more evidence to this then "he said, she said", including physical injuries and forensic evidence that are inconsistent with consensual sexual encounters.


this is getting a bit ridiculous by now, though it seems that there is a lot of "accuser said, defense said" even when it comes to the physical evidence. According to this column by a veteran NY lawyer, the defense team is saying there was no sign of physical bruising etc.: "She was taller, stronger, and younger than the 62-year-old, unarmed, and overweight DSK. A source close to the defense reports that not a mark was found on her body after the alleged assault. There was neither a bruise nor a contusion."

so we have reports of the forensic evidence from the two private legal teams that wildly different from each other. I guess it's up to the NYC authorities to give the definitive account? (or have they already?)
posted by Bwithh at 7:39 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


eviemath: .My version of Occam's Razor still favors the "DSK did rape her" explanation with the facts as I know them at present - previous history of falsely claiming that he did not commit sexual assaults seems a bit more relevant in the he-said/she-said debate in this particular case.(*)

There is one potential case developing in France against DSK for an alleged sexual assault in 2002 on a journalist Tristane Banon, but that hasn't even been brought to court yet, so just as in the US, in France, DSK is still considered innocent until proven guilty. Otherwise there's a lot of gossip about DSK being an aggressive womanizer (this may well be gross, but it is not a crime in itself) and a rake, but all that doesn't amount to DSK being someone with a proven history of sexual assaults.

The accuser, on the other hand, (leaving aside all the other reported falsifications) has admitted to committing perjury at least once, possibly twice, as a matter of official record by the Manhattan DA's office.
posted by Bwithh at 7:54 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bwithh, that's why I used "allegedly" in the part of my post where I was stating the facts as I knew them to date. In case I wasn't clear, the opinion that I stated was my opinion on what was actually true, not what was legally true. (That being kind of the whole point of my third paragraph.) Would it be accurate to assume that you have a differing opinion, or perhaps no opinion, about what is actually true in this case? Do you think the details that the accuser has allegedly committed perjury about are relevant to this particular case - does the fact that she, by her own report, lied about something else outweigh, in your mind, the fact that DSK has by other people's report lied about previous sexual encounters?

(Or do you prefer not to form an opinion, given that we don't know all the relevant facts of the case. But in that case, what's left to debate or discuss in this discussion thread? "Yep. We still don't have the evidence that will be available to the jury, and even that might not be enough to figure out what actually happened here, so we can form no opinion" does not make for a very long nor entertaining comments section!)
posted by eviemath at 8:16 PM on July 1, 2011


"Investigators with the Manhattan district attorney’s office learned the call had been recorded and had it translated from a “unique dialect of Fulani,” a language from the woman’s native country, Guinea, according to a well-placed law enforcement official.

When the conversation was translated — a job completed only this Wednesday — investigators were alarmed: “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said. "


rr: you're not answering my question: Do you really, seriously believe that she had consensual sex with DSK, then on the spot decided to frame him for rape? Is that what you think happened?

It's increasingly looking like the correct answer here is "Yes".
posted by kafziel at 8:17 PM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Some more detail about the apparent collapse of the investigation. At this point I'm finding the tale of assault rather incredible.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:18 PM on July 1, 2011


Anigbrowl: Jinx.
posted by kafziel at 8:22 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Saucysalt, the first paragraph of the complaint just describes the general scope of the charges. The second paragraph outlines the specifics of this case.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:29 PM on July 1, 2011


How about this one: woman with precarious legal status and some history of association with low-level criminal activity gets raped, decides to take it as an opportunity to make the most of a bad situation? That (to me) seems much more consistent with both of their personalities as they've been reported in the news to date.

Also, I'd like to see the full transcript of the conversation before drawing any conclusions from that one snippet. Especially given that it's reported that "she says words to the effect of...." So that's not even an actual quote?
posted by eviemath at 8:31 PM on July 1, 2011


Especially given that it's reported that "she says words to the effect of...." So that's not even an actual quote?

That description might be because it's a translation. There would be no way to represent the "actual quote" of what she said in English because of the ambiguity of translating.
posted by andoatnp at 8:34 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could be. Could not be. Can't tell from that article. Maybe they'll release the translated transcript in a few hours, like the DA's letter followed the other NYT article? Looks like this case is going to be tried "in the court of public opinion" as they say, and with much politics involved, from the way the leaks and lawyer press conferences and all are ramping up. Shocking - DSK is so high-profile that I never would have expected that! :P
posted by eviemath at 8:51 PM on July 1, 2011


Reminds me of a conversation I had recently with a police-officer friend. According to him, it is not at all uncommon for a rape call to turn out to be a "dispute over services rendered," which sounds like the most plausible explanation of this scenario to me.
posted by GIFtheory at 9:18 PM on July 1, 2011


b) the next para states that the original story was that she fled the room and stayed in the hallway till the accused left but that "complainant has since admitted that this account was false
Ah right. That is still a pretty minor detail though. Whether she left immediately to report the crime or cleaned another room first doesn't really change anything. Except the defense could say if she did that she wasn't all that traumatized.

It would be helpful if the DAs office could clarify the physical evidence in this situation. As for the phone call, the fact that it was in an obscure language and had to be translated makes it harder to draw judgments from. On the other hand, all we have are quotes that make her look bad. Did she describe the rape over the phone? Did that description line up with what she told the police?
posted by delmoi at 9:54 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


rr: you're not answering my question: Do you really, seriously believe that she had consensual sex with DSK, then on the spot decided to frame him for rape? Is that what you think happened?

I'm not talking about getting a conviction, I'm talking about what you think actually happened. Do you think it's likely that he raped her, but not beyond a reasonable doubt? Or do you seriously think this was consensual sex?


I think it's looking closer to the truth than the "he raped her and is getting away with it" theory.
posted by rr at 10:39 PM on July 1, 2011


Ah right. That is still a pretty minor detail though. Whether she left immediately to report the crime or cleaned another room first doesn't really change anything.

No Delmoi, it changes things rather a lot. It suggests that she wasn't particularly frightened of DSK in that she just moved onto the next room rather than hiding out, and it also reveals that she returned to the (alleged) crime scene and could thus have planted or modified evidence there. By changing the story of what she did at the time, repeatedly, the credibility of her assault report goes out the window.

At this point I don't even know if they had sex or not. Maybe she saw him jerking off in the bathroom and lifted semen off a towel after he had departed. Maybe they did have consensual sex. Maybe he did rape her. At this point, it's impossible to know what actually happened.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:39 PM on July 1, 2011


No Delmoi, it changes things rather a lot. It suggests that she wasn't particularly frightened of DSK in that she just moved onto the next room rather than hiding out.

A great number of rapes go unreported. Do you honestly think that people who have been raped aren't sometimes in shock and return to something familiar (a routine, perhaps) in order to get some sense of normalcy? If that's what happened here, and it's possible, it does not mean she wasn't afraid of him. It could mean she was shocked and confused at what had transpired.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:46 PM on July 1, 2011


delmoi writes "That is still a pretty minor detail though. Whether she left immediately to report the crime or cleaned another room first doesn't really change anything."

It's a minor difference in the event. However it is a major difference in the sequence of events as reported to the police. See for example if the accused had an alibi for the 15 minutes before the crime was reported. First way they are covered, second way they aren't. Cops and prosecutors hate that kind of thing and omitting a block of time like that in your report to police allows the defence to question the reliability of the entire report.
posted by Mitheral at 11:07 PM on July 1, 2011


>>>"Did she describe the rape over the phone? Did that description line up with what she told the police?"

NYT: "Mr. Thompson said that the housekeeper’s account of what took place in Suite 2806 is the only one that matters, and said that in the jail recording, she recounted a version of the encounter that matched what she had told the police. "

Why is this not more important than the fact that she said she wanted to get a payoff? You know what? If I had to give a forced blowjob to some doughy manpig, I'd feel entitled to a hefty asshole tax too.
posted by dgaicun at 11:12 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, in fairness both of her accounts of the events are apparently contradicted by the keycard evidence. Are people actually reading the DA letter before commenting?

I am quite surprised how keen people are to call DSK a probable rapist based on very little but hearsay.
posted by jaduncan at 4:05 AM on July 2, 2011


Actually, my feeling is more subtle than that. We all wish for genuine victims of rape to gain justice against the people who have volated and exploited them through that rape.

The thing that I have found hard in this thread is that people seem to have started from a position of 'we must assume that the victim is telling the truth at all times', then attempted to maintain this assumption of guilt on the part of DSK and truthfulness on the part of the accuser unchanged through any amount of (reported) demonstrable lying or deceit by the accuser.

So either she is falsely accusing him or he was remarkably lucky in raping a woman who had previously falsely accused others of rape whilst crying and shaking to make the story look good, under oath.

At what point does an accuser become unreliable for you guys? Ever? This isn't snark, I'm just curious where people's personal line is.
posted by jaduncan at 4:18 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


This part from the NYT report is a little strange:

And yet, even this version was not corroborated by card-key data obtained by investigators on Friday, which indicated that the housekeeper went to the other room only after she had finished Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s room.

This suggests that she continued cleaning the accused's room after the encounter before moving on to clean further rooms. Is that something that would be normal in a situation like this? Would she not leave hurriedly or something, or is it shock at work?

It's these kinds of questions which I guess the prosecution have to weigh up in terms of whether to continue.
posted by Duug at 5:33 AM on July 2, 2011


Man, some people are mighty naive about the nature of the criminal enterprise with which this woman seems to have been connected in several damning ways. Having had one run in with a West African mob scheme (which started when a nice young man named Amadou rear-ended my car in Brooklyn one rainy night 7 years ago, and ended with me out one car, and two insurance companies out several thousand dollars, and Amadou gone from the face of the earth, and passed along the way through reams of forged documents, phony police and medical reports, stolen cars, and false addresses and names), the minute I heard about the kind of folks this woman is connected with (who, most certainly, are also in the business of coaching their recruits into Oscar-winning performances to win asylum claims so they could be placed on hotel staffs with excellent access to rich marks) was the minute I started giving DSK the nearly complete benefit of the doubt, boorish womanizing French pig or not.

My guess is they thought he was a regular rich guy and the usual soft target, and then realized too late that he was too famous to extort quietly in business as usual fashion for a quick 5 grand or a Rolex.

The 15 minutes she spend "cleaning another room," I am willing to bet, were spent on a burner phone having her handlers google DSK's name (which she probably had acquired somewhere in the course of the incident, or from her accomplice up the chain in housekeeping or reservations) and realizing the "go to the police and charge rape" strategy was going to be their best bet to make a big score.

Cynical, maybe. But I live in New York. This isn't ideological. It isn't about feminism vs. the rights of the accused. It's about organized crime. And this time (as many other times) they managed to fool not only their victim, but also the police, the DA, and quite evidently, many MeFites with their sob story about the poor immigrant maid who was just trying to live the American dream.

Yeah right. Watch as it unravels. I'll lay odds there isn't a shred of truth to anything we've heard about this incident.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:18 AM on July 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do you have a link to confirm that, because the NY Times article says she was discussing the "benefits" of not dropping the charges. The benefits could include not letting your alleged rapist get away with it/not backing down because he's a rich, powerful man.

Strauss-Kahn Accuser’s Call Alarmed Prosecutors:
Twenty-eight hours after a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York said she was sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, she spoke by phone to a boyfriend in an immigration jail in Arizona.

Investigators with the Manhattan district attorney’s office learned the call had been recorded and had it translated from a “unique dialect of Fulani,” a language from the woman’s native country, Guinea, according to a well-placed law enforcement official.

When the conversation was translated — a job completed only this Wednesday — investigators were alarmed: “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said.
posted by scalefree at 6:56 AM on July 2, 2011


This suggests that she continued cleaning the accused's room after the encounter before moving on to clean further rooms. Is that something that would be normal in a situation like this? Would she not leave hurriedly or something, or is it shock at work?

I don't think that in and of itself is particularly suspicious. People process (or don't process) trauma in different ways. One possibility: it took her some time time to grasp that she'd been raped and she was sort of on auto-pilot until then, finish cleaning room, move on to next, before reporting. Even the alleged lying to police about the sequence/timing of events could be a result of not fully processing the order of things initially.

Not saying that's what happened, just that it's not necessarily suspicious in and of itself.
posted by 6550 at 6:58 AM on July 2, 2011


Well, in fairness both of her accounts of the events are apparently contradicted by the keycard evidence. Are people actually reading the DA letter before commenting?

I didn't see this in the DA's letter, either the first time I read it, or on re-reading just now?
posted by eviemath at 6:59 AM on July 2, 2011


(That is, the DA's letter doesn't mention anything about keycard evidence - do you have an alternate source for that, jaduncan?)
posted by eviemath at 7:00 AM on July 2, 2011


People process (or don't process) trauma in different ways.

One of those ways apparently consists of making up, or at least grossly exaggerating, the "trauma" in question.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:24 AM on July 2, 2011


Not arguing whether or not it happened, just noting that a person who's suffered rape (or any serious trauma, really) might not necessarily react in the way they're "supposed" to.
posted by 6550 at 7:45 AM on July 2, 2011


(That is, the DA's letter doesn't mention anything about keycard evidence - do you have an alternate source for that, jaduncan?)
It's on page two of this NYT article.
posted by Flunkie at 7:52 AM on July 2, 2011


Thanks, Flunkie. I also want to say that I appreciate what fourcheesemac did a few posts back in not pretending to an omniscient point of view, and giving us some details about the life experiences that informed his/her(?) opinion on this whole DSK affair. Makes me much more inclined to seriously consider an alternate opinion, even though I've never had any dealings with nor heard much about West African organized crime rings.

Of course, I still disagree:P

So suppose you're in some group involved in some legally shady money-making activities, and you've decided that you want to extort some money out of rich men. In the US, I'd agree that sexual misconduct would be a good basis for such extortion, but my understanding is that, statistically speaking, bringing legal accusations of rape against random rich dudes would be a low percentage scheme. You'd need a different accuser on a regular basis, since the accuser would tend to lose legal credibility after one or two false or failed accusations of rape. It seems to me that a more effective extortion strategy would be to film the sexual misconduct and just out-and-out extort money to keep it a secret, without involving the police.

Now, if you were in a group that decided to go ahead with the extortion through legal means, it would make sense to choose your targets carefully so as to improve your odds of actually winning a case and getting money out of the situation. To wit, choose rich dudes who "everyone knows" are asshole womanizers, or rich dudes who have already been accused and/or convicted of sexual assault, harassment, or similar acts in the past. A jury would find such a character much less sympathetic. DSK would certainly be a good candidate from what I've read in the news.

But, if someone in your organized crime group was savvy enough to figure out this scheme of choosing a believable target, it seems to me that the same line of reasoning would lead to choosing a believable accuser. Maybe not someone who is already in a precarious legal/immigration situation; someone nice and (as far as can be proven) innocent, who a jury would find credible and sympathetic. Not, as we are learning, the accuser in this case.

If this was some sort of pre-meditated set-up of DSK, that would imply a level of both naivete and incompetence on the part of the accuser and any of her potential associates that I find much less credible than the scenario that DSK (true to form, if rumors are to be believed) sexually assaulted the woman, and she (also true to form, if the now-emerging rumors are to be believed) decided to exploit the situation as much as she could after the fact. (Or not, since we still don't know the details of that phone conversation.)
posted by eviemath at 9:19 AM on July 2, 2011


eviemath, that scenario seems highly what-if to me, and so I want to be clear that I'm not saying that I think it, something like it, or something like my following modifications of it occurred, but just to play along:

I think it ignores at least two things:

(1) I don't think it's necessarily as easy for a criminal gang to get a "nice and innocent" person to go along with their scheme to destroy a person's life for monetary gain as you seem to think it is.

(2) I tend to think that (under the assumptions which I am not necessarily agreeing with that she was not actually raped and that she's unequivocally involved in crime family-type activity) "pre-meditated set up of DSK" is way less likely than "I'm being hit on by some rich old dude, I bet I can take advantage of this".
posted by Flunkie at 9:35 AM on July 2, 2011


Yeah, what fourcheesemac said. for me, that's the most credible speculative explanation so far.
posted by Bwithh at 10:40 AM on July 2, 2011


re: eviemath's scenario, the hypothetical scheme fourcheesemac lays out doesn't have to involve accusations of rape, or going to the police - it could just mean extortion based on exposing what occurred to spouses. And I would think it unlikely the hypothetical scammers would know who DSK is (I bet most people working as Wall St. financial analysts had no idea (or at best a very hazy idea) of who DSK is, before the big scandal, let alone the Paris gossip about about his private life). They more likely thought he was just a random rich guy.
posted by Bwithh at 10:46 AM on July 2, 2011


NY Post: The Sofitel housekeeper who claims the former IMF boss sexually assaulted her in his room was doing double duty as a prostitute, collecting cash on the side from male guests, The Post has learned.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:54 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


As more information comes to light, I'm beginning to think that this case isn't the "if you don't believe her you're sanctioning the rape of everyone who does [blank]" hill for your argument to die on.
posted by chimaera at 11:38 AM on July 2, 2011


This blog post suggests that the press conference yesterday by the accuser's lead lawyer is very unusual

what in the world is Ken Thompson and his firm doing at this point.

Thompson is not only still on board with the victim, but immediately following DSK’s release hearing, Thompson stood on the courthouse steps and doubled down on the crazy behind his client in one of the more amazing press conferences I have ever seen in my life. Thompson vouched for a client that had just been established to be completely without credibility or veracity, brutally attacked Cy Vance and the Manhattan DA’s Office, misrepresented critical areas of fact and flat out promised his client would be personally addressing the press with a full statement. No attorney in his right mind would put a client such as this one, who is already completely impeached with not just false statements, but flat out perjury, in front of the press and on the public record. It is insane.

posted by Bwithh at 11:39 AM on July 2, 2011


The thing that I have found hard in this thread is that people seem to have started from a position of 'we must assume that the victim is telling the truth at all times', then attempted to maintain this assumption of guilt on the part of DSK and truthfulness on the part of the accuser unchanged through any amount of (reported) demonstrable lying or deceit by the accuser... At what point does an accuser become unreliable for you guys? Ever?

jaduncan, as stated above I'm refraining from making this judgment since all the pertinent facts aren't available to me. In my mind this case could rest almost entirely on the forensic and medical evidence, and I'm not in a position to evaluate the quality and nature of this evidence. All the pertinent facts of the case are not available to me, and a new revelation at any moment could tip the scales.

However the thing that I've found hard in this thread (and apparently in the justice system) is the legal epistemology that is overly concerned with the virtue of the woman. Which is not to say that I find scrupulousness, virtue and background of an accuser irrelevant. But, to give one example, the greedy statements in the phone-call somehow serve as strong "shocking" evidence to others that the accusation is false. But in my mind this "lack of virtue" is not shocking or important (in fact I sympathize with it), and the more important evidence here is that she is giving a consistent account of her victimization in a totally private conversation -- which supports her testimony. So I think the whole "victim virtue" legal epistemology is preventing others from constructively evaluating the case. Further, it seems to inherently exclude the Not So Nice people at the bottom of society from recourse to justice, and that's not right.

And to answer you question, an accuser never becomes so unreliable that I think they cannot defend themselves as victims in a court of law. It's just that in cases of an extremely unreliable victim (such as this one), there needs to be a higher threshold of non-testimonial evidence. Conversely, even in cases of an extremely reliable witness, I'm not inclined to convict based on strictly he said-she said testimony. In fact I'm pretty sure I was dragged into a MetaTalk shitstorm several years ago after I linked a half dozen academic papers showing that a very high percentage of rape accusations are false. So it's not that I'm overly sympathetic to accusers, to the contrary, It's that I'm underly sympathetic to testimony.
posted by dgaicun at 2:49 PM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


However the thing that I've found hard in this thread (and apparently in the justice system) is the legal epistemology that is overly concerned with the virtue of the woman.

That would also be the virtue of the *accuser,* whose gender happens to be female, however. Granted that virtue of the accuser is widely known to play a prejudicial relationship in rape cases (and that the court system is in many ways now duty bound to consider that fact, and that this may explain why Cy Vance and Co. *were* so quick to believe the accusations in such a public way because they were under such pressure to keep DSK in the US).

I cannot imagine wanting a justice system, however, where the virtue of the accuser bringing the charge in a case where nearly everything rests on his/her word was *not* a factor in whether a case could be prosecuted, let alone how it should be decided. Otherwise, why ask people to testify under oath at all? And why allow cross-examination?

You can reduce the actual problem of prejudicial victim-shaming up to a point with rape shield laws and the like. But to my mind, the virtue -- the believability, the reputation, the conduct -- of the accuser can never be fully discounted unless you have absolutely unimpeachable forensic evidence.

The less virtuous, under this system, will enjoy less protection under the law. That is a feature, not a bug. The problem is not in fact the consideration of virtue, but the consideration of past sexual behavior, the length of a skirt, etc. as matters of virtue. Lying about prior rapes or facts in evidence in this case indicates an *actual* absence of virtue. It is not the same thing as saying she deserved it because she had a short skirt on.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:31 PM on July 2, 2011


Let's just seperate it out more explicitly, fourcheesemac. Her sexual history isn't an issue, and her clothing/alleged alluringness/etc etc (traditional 'virtue') isn't an issue. The issue, to use the English legal term, is her bad character.

The law recognized, and continues to recognize, two main categories of evidence that amount to evidence of bad character:
evidence that the accused has a disposition to commit offences of the same meta as that for which he is on trial (see evidence of disposition), and;
evidence that the accused, or another witness, can not be trusted to tell the truth (see evidence of untruthfullness).

The latter applies in this case, and no virgin/slut dichotomy needs to be raised.
posted by jaduncan at 3:55 PM on July 2, 2011


But I think you fail to understand, jaduncan. You see, if an accuser cannot be trusted to tell the truth about being raped, you have to believe them anyway if it's about rape.

Otherwise, you're saying it's OK to rape people who can't be trusted to tell the truth about being raped.
posted by chimaera at 4:01 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree in spirit but technically disagree, fourcheesemac.

Yes, the accuser's reputation for honesty or dishonesty must obviously play a central role, excluding strong physical evidence. Yet, there are serious problem with conceptualizing credibility/believability as virtue, namely that you cannot make jurors separate the term virtue from Christianity's perverse sexual mores.*

Is there some reason you need some broad term like virture rather than simply credibility? In particular, jurors should also take the accuser's motive into account, especially custody battles. Doesn't that fit better under simply believability rather than virtue? If you still need the word virtue, maybe you should prefix it by secular, some appropriate philosopher's name, or whatever.

* these are remarkably similar to the problems atheists, gays, etc. experience because Christians identify morality with Christianity.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:02 PM on July 2, 2011


Well, yes, I think virtue goes beyond sexual morality, and includes but is larger than credibility, but generally I see credibility as an effect of virtue in the Aristotelian sense. The idea that we are all equal before the law is fine in the abstract, and proper in the abstract. But in fact, some people are more or less credible than others *by virtue of* (as the expression actually encodes my point) having led more generally admirable lives.

It's not the naive understanding of "equal justice" that often prevails in philosophical argument, but every human culture has standards of virtuousness that determine social reputation in consequential ways. We distinguish between more and less credible witnesses along various axes besides virtue as well (eyesight, prior knowledge of the situation being described, scientific credentials, etc.).
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:17 PM on July 2, 2011


Prefix it by secular, some appropriate philosopher's name, or whatever.

Ha. I did so (here's the background) without having noticed your exhortation. Fine with me if you want to say "reputation," (equally loaded with respect to rape accusations, however); or "standing;" etc.

Sociopaths, of course, get good at feigning virtue too. Machiavellian virtue, and all that.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:21 PM on July 2, 2011


You see, if an accuser cannot be trusted to tell the truth about being raped, you have to believe them anyway if it's about rape.

How does this even work?
posted by andoatnp at 4:24 PM on July 2, 2011


How does this even work?

There are several people in the thread willing to explain that to you. Over and over. And with curious pertinent omissions, the sweep of broad brushes, artificial dichotomies, and with plenty moral outrage. I, however, was being sarcastic.
posted by chimaera at 4:29 PM on July 2, 2011


But to my mind, the virtue -- the believability, the reputation, the conduct -- of the accuser can never be fully discounted unless you have absolutely unimpeachable forensic evidence...
The less virtuous, under this system, will enjoy less protection under the law. That is a feature, not a bug.


Well, as I said, credibility should play a role, but it needs to take a back seat to scientific and logical evidence such as, e.g. DNA and forensics. It's more important that the puzzle pieces fit together than whether or not the alleged victim is an upstanding citizen. And more often than not victims are likely not upstanding citizens, because people at the bottom of society are in forced proximity due to shared lifestyle and unwanted circumstances.

And really, unless there is "absolutely unimpeachable forensic evidence" then perhaps we should take the "reasonable doubt" aspect of criminal cases more seriously. Many liberals might not like this for cases of rape, but many might be sympathetic to the idea that the overall rate of conviction should be lower, and the legal bar should be set higher in general. (However I believe the secretive and often puzzling nature of sexual interaction means that rape conviction should be even lower than it is for most crimes anyway -- it's unfair, in a cosmic sense, but the true circumstances of private sexual consent just aren't easily knowable to third parties).
posted by dgaicun at 4:56 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


credibility should play a role, but it needs to take a back seat to scientific and logical evidence

We are in full agreement on this, and if I implied otherwise I did not mean to. But on the other hand, television in particular has led many people to have a false confidence in the unimpeachability of "scientific" forensics, which is of course an enterprise conducted by people whose virtue and credibility are salient and potential targets for impeachment that bears directly on any given case.

As Mark Fuhrman.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:12 PM on July 2, 2011


I'll explain further via a thought experiment :

Alice is a Hellenic Reconstructionist priestess who practices religious prostitution in some redneck Christian small town. Alice get's raped by her ex-client Bob. Bob claims the sex was consensual prostitution, but he lacked the cash to pay her. Alice is extremely honest. Bob lies all the time. Should the prosecution have a change of venue?

I'm fairly confident the correct legal answer is : No, a change of venue is for protecting the rights of the accused to a fair trial, not to help the prosecution obtain a conviction, etc.

Instead, the prosecutor must ensure the redneck Christian jury does not conceptualize Alice's credibility as virtue by focusing more narrowly upon Alice's honesty and Bob's dishonesty. Aristotelian virtue makes sense for metafilter, but it'd cost the prosecution this hypothetical case.

I'd imagine that, if we faced an epidemic of Hellenic priestess being raped in redneck Christian towns, defendants might be prosecuted in federal courts so that less biassed juries were available, ala the civil rights movement.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:14 PM on July 2, 2011


If a women with "credibility problems" can't testify on her own behalf about rape, then all a rapist would have to do would be to look for girls who they think wouldn't have credibility on the stand, rape them, and get off scott free.

Very troubling. Also true of basically any other crime. Also logically-inescapable, at least to some extent, if the justice system is ever going to deliver a "not guilty" verdict in a he-said-she-said case.

Is it "fair" that you can victimize known liars more easily than you can victimize people with unblemished reputations? I don't know what that question means. I don't like that it's true, but I also don't see any way around it.
posted by foursentences at 5:19 PM on July 2, 2011


If a women with "credibility problems" can't testify on her own behalf about rape, then all a rapist would have to do would be to look for girls who they think wouldn't have credibility on the stand, rape them, and get off scott free.

If you can find a way to square this with the presumption of innocence, fair enough. If not, then you're left with the logical conclusion that people with credibility problems will not be believed. And when we're talking about locking people away in prison, I'm OK with that. Better to let 10 guilty men go free than have 1 innocent person convicted, right?
posted by BobbyVan at 5:28 PM on July 2, 2011


Recall that DSK first lied to police or prosecutors about the encounter (saying that he did not have sex with the accuser) and then later changed his story (saying that they had consensual sex).

(And has multiple cell phones!)
posted by eviemath at 7:13 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Recall that DSK first lied to police or prosecutors about the encounter (saying that he did not have sex with the accuser) and then later changed his story (saying that they had consensual sex).

If the allegations of her being a prostitute are true, then saying "yes" is basically confessing to a different crime.

(And has multiple cell phones!)

Did he lie about having the cell phones? Are they in his name, but carried and used and paid by a collection of drug dealers? This isn't a fact that exists in isolation, and pretending that it does is pretty disingenuous.
posted by kafziel at 8:22 PM on July 2, 2011


If the allegations of her being a prostitute are true, then saying "yes" is basically confessing to a different crime.
He has the right not to answer. He doesn't have the right to answer with a lie.
posted by Flunkie at 8:25 PM on July 2, 2011


He has the right not to answer. He doesn't have the right to answer with a lie.

Who cares at this point? The most likely scenario, given all we know, as that this was a consensual encounter. She kept cleaning afterwards, she lied about being raped before, she had a financial incentive, and she may well have been prostituting herself to other guests. So what if DSK lied about the sex at first?
posted by BobbyVan at 9:02 PM on July 2, 2011


I wasn't saying that the fact that he has apparently committed perjury (if what eviemath says is true - I hadn't seen that previously) means that he should be prosecuted for rape.
posted by Flunkie at 9:11 PM on July 2, 2011


Lying to the cops is not perjury.
posted by kafziel at 9:18 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really strongly doubt that he decided to lie to the police (or say anything at all) after taking legal advice, and we know that he didn't say anything of substance to them before meeting his attorney (link). His lawyers may have released or leaked contradictory statements to the media, which isn't a crime of course.
posted by topynate at 9:49 PM on July 2, 2011


I am quite surprised how keen people are to call DSK a probable rapist based on very little but hearsay.
That's not what hearsay is. Hearsay is when, for example, person A hears person B say something, and then testifies that they "heard B say". You can't use that in court.

Direct witness testimony isn't hearsay.
Having had one run in with a West African mob scheme (which started when a nice young man named Amadou rear-ended my car in Brooklyn one rainy night 7 years ago, and ended with me out one car, and two insurance companies out several thousand dollars, and Amadou gone from the face of the earth...
Wow, that's pretty racist.

Also, the rest of your nonsense about how "non-virtuous" people don't deserve equal treatment under the law makes little sense when it's not applied to DSK, who has multiple women claiming that he assaulted them, and also (IIRC) made some inaccurate statements about the event as well.

Does anyone think that if a rich woman accused a poor immigrant of rape that there would be any of the this epistemological nonsense being thrown around in this thread?
posted by delmoi at 10:00 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


kafziel is correct. lying to the cops or to the DA's team is not perjury.
Most of the reported lying done by the accuser to the cops and the DA would not count as perjury either. Perjury occurs when giving a statement under oath. The accuser has been reportedly been found to have committed perjury when knowingly giving false accounts in her grand jury testimony, in her application for asylum and on her tax forms and possibly other govt. forms,
posted by Bwithh at 10:55 PM on July 2, 2011


"Having had one run in with a West African mob scheme (which started when a nice young man named Amadou rear-ended my car in Brooklyn one rainy night 7 years ago, and ended with me out one car, and two insurance companies out several thousand dollars, and Amadou gone from the face of the earth..."

Wow, that's pretty racist.


fourcheesemac was extrapolating from personal experience, but West African organized crime is indeed a recognized problem for international and national law enforcement.
posted by Bwithh at 10:59 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


West African organized crime is indeed a recognized problem for international and national law enforcement.

and there are even very catchy West African hit pop songs about it
posted by Bwithh at 11:02 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anyone think that if a rich woman accused a poor immigrant of rape that there would be any of the this epistemological nonsense being thrown around in this thread?


Assuming it got posted to Metafilter, yes there would be.
posted by Justinian at 11:44 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


but West African organized crime is indeed a recognized problem for international and national law enforcement.

So what? So is Russian, Italian, and Japanese mafia activity. The argument that, well, fourchesemac was once scammed by a West African, and therefore this woman is lying about the rape because she's also a West African is an entirely racist argument. I mean, there is no other way to put it.
posted by delmoi at 12:47 AM on July 3, 2011


Wow, that's pretty racist.

Really, now? When did "West African" become a race?

If you heard about a guy named Tony DiFrancesco who owned a body shop and a carting company and was charged or suspected of money laundering, would it be "racist" to speculate he had ties to the Italian mafia? If so, half of the crime shows on television are "racist" in this same sense. Never mind that ALL THE CRIMINALS IN "THE WIRE" ARE AFRICAN AMERICAN OMG RACIST!

Tell you what, if I'm wrong, come back and call me out on it. If I'm right, you'd better fucking apologize for calling me a "racist." There is already extensive evidence that she is connected to organized crime, and very specifically to the known, extensive, and very dangerous West African organized crime world. I cited my own victimization by this world not to prove it exists, but to discuss how it relies on layers of fraudulent misrepresentation. That is a signature feature of West African criminal enterprises, ranging from insurance scams to 419 emails from Nigeria (it's somewhat less disturbing than the signature use of punitive violence by many other criminal enterprises, although I'm sure there's plenty of that too).

You cheapen and abuse the word "racism" with bullshit like that.

And I didn't say DSK was virtuous. But he didn't accuse anyone of rape, did he?
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:01 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what? So is Russian, Italian, and Japanese mafia activity. The argument that, well, fourchesemac was once scammed by a West African, and therefore this woman is lying about the rape because she's also a West African is an entirely racist argument. I mean, there is no other way to put it.

That wasn't my argument, and to say so is disingenuous in the extreme. You must be a lawyer!

Also, Russian, Italian, Japanese, and West African are not races, one more time, idiot.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:01 AM on July 3, 2011


And reading through the whole thread, it becomes clear that you, delmoi, are really rather over-invested in being right about the original narrative of this case still holding. At every turn as it has collapsed you have flailed about seeking to impugn whatever reason is given for this woman's reduced credibility, until you're down to screaming "it's racist!" to point out that she consorts with gangsters from her own country and talks with them in Fulani to avoid the police hearing what she's saying.

You wrote above:

The thing is, there isn't even any evidence that this women has ever done anything wrong, just that she knows some people who may have, and that she apparently let some of them get cellphones in her name.


There is plenty of evidence that she's done plenty wrong, much of it consistent with being in the employ of organized (West African!) criminal gangs. To start with, she's known to have lied about the incident itself -- her accusation includes proven falsehoods, so I don't see where you locate the clear bright line around the true part. But beyond that, she is known to have lied about her financial assets, the number of children she has, and numerous other facts in evidence, up to and including a prior rape accusation that got her into the US (OMG racist fourcheesemac is calling all African women immigrants bad! RACIST!)

So the bottom line is you keep being wrong, and tossing out ad hominem bonbons to cover that fact doesn't change it. It is already clear that she *is* affiliated with West African organized crime. Do you honestly think a fellow Guinean, or Nigerian, or Senegalese, or Ghanaian immigrant would deny that there is such a thing as "West African organized crime" in the US?

Bwitth links above to the FBI page on West African organized crime. Read about it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:18 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


the rest of your nonsense about how "non-virtuous" people don't deserve equal treatment

And again, where did I say this? Do you make a point of misrepresenting through paraphrase when you're losing an argument, or are you just happy to see me?

As Clint Eastwood says to Gene Hackman right before blowing his head off in *Unforgiven,* "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."

I said: a lack of credibility is an unavoidable consequence of non-virtuous conduct. In fact, DSK's initial tarring and feathering in the media followed from his lack of credibility, even as a rich white guy, given his history of prior sexual harassment and boorish behavior with women. At the time, the victim in this case was known only as a pious, hardworking, poor Muslim immigrant, and not only MeFites, but the entire American media actually bent over backwards (to the horror of rich guys and French reporters everywhere) to believe her side, to give her the benefit of the doubt, to act like we are *supposed* to act when rape is reported, which is never to to doubt for a moment that what a woman claims happened, happened and the man who says otherwise, rich or not, white or not, head of the IMF or not, must be lying. I didn't see one attack on the woman's character in the American press, and certainly not on MeFi. There's a whole lot of revisionist wishful thinking going on among those who are now defensively trying to preserve her "virtue" in this tale by accusing the rest of us of slut-shaming her, or worse, of being racists for noticing she comes from West Africa and has bad friends who speak Fulani and coach her in lies about gang rape and funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash into her bank accounts and are in jail for trading counterfeit luxury goods for 400 pounds of pot. (Did you even read the articles linked above, delmoi?)

Indeed, I myself reflexively believed this woman's initial accusation, and I am actually somewhat ashamed to say it was *because* she was poor, black, Muslim, an immigrant, and especially, a woman. I rushed to judgment like many others here and branded DSK a rapist on no evidence other than her credibility. So did the cops. And in fact she had no credibility. And in fact that is because she is a proven liar and criminal, and in fact that is because she lacks virtue.

Therefore, I have no problem with saying she's had all the "equal treatment" she "deserves," and then some, and now it's time to deport her or put her in jail. It is DSK who "deserves" equal treatment under the law and didn't get it. Those who defend a false accuser are defending nothing but their own wishful thinking and prejudices.

No, my point was that if you are a criminal -- a person of low virtue -- you may not deserve to be disbelieved, but you damn well should expect it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:33 AM on July 3, 2011


The UN published a major report in 2005 on "Transnational Organized Crime in the West African Region," which can be read here.

Much of what it says echoes my characterization of the foci, techniques, and organizational logics of West African criminal enterprises operating in the US.

By delmoi's logic, this makes the UN "racist" for, um, pointing out that what, West Africans come from West Africa?
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:14 AM on July 3, 2011


Thanks for that definition, delmoi. I've just finished the criminal evidence paper at Cambridge, I'm ok with what hearsay is, and that testimony isn't that. You ignore that you aren't reading the testimony, you are reading other people's description of the evidence. This, as you so correctly define, is hearsay.
posted by jaduncan at 5:31 AM on July 3, 2011


Also, four cheesemac is racist for starting that someone who (allegedly) talks to suspected drug dealers, is trusted enough by them to have $100k put in their account with the presumable assumption that she won't then skip town, and was coached on how to lie to authorities to get an asylum claim through just might be [west African] mobbed up?

This seems like an uncharitable argument at the least, and probably one in bad faith.
posted by jaduncan at 5:48 AM on July 3, 2011


*stated
posted by jaduncan at 5:50 AM on July 3, 2011


I am curious why so many people here seem so invested in this case? Why do you feel such a connection to a French former head of a the IMF? Why so celebratory about his release? I'm accusing no one of anything, I'm just sort of boggling at the weird victoriousness in this thread.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:47 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why so celebratory about his release?

Maybe because it seems like he's innocent of the charges against him? Is there something about his Frenchness or the IMF that should permit an injustice?

If I wrote the same question as you but substituted "West African" for "French", I'd probably be accused of racism.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:18 AM on July 3, 2011


I only meant French as in not American. Like I could sort of understand maybe people feel a patriotic connection if the person involved were American.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:35 AM on July 3, 2011


I actually haven't seen many posts that are outwardly sympathetic to DSK the man -- but I'll bite.

Even though the police and the DA's initial response was, I believe, appropriate given the serious allegation from the maid, I think it's horrible that an apparently innocent man was arrested, imprisoned, and had his reputation severely tarnished by this affair.

I also think that, to a certain extent, his own somewhat disgraceful history as an adulterer (and perhaps worse), has made him a juicy target for false allegations.

One last thought: just as a woman with credibility problems and a checkered sexual history will face an uphill battle with a she-said rape allegation... so does a man with a sleazy background in defending such an accusation.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:46 AM on July 3, 2011


edit: defending against such an accusation.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:48 AM on July 3, 2011


You'll notice the previous thread was all "no diplomatic immunity for you! lol", hydropsyche. We don't much like the IMF around these parts.

There are however many people who care more about presumption of innocent, habeas corpus, etc. far more than they dislike the IMF. And delmoi's vitriol yields considerable insight into how recent administrations have assaulted civil rights, i.e. it's a case of duty calls!
posted by jeffburdges at 8:45 AM on July 3, 2011


Do we know why NYC's famous sex-crimes prosecutor Lisa Friel resigned? I'd naively assumed she was "falling on her sword", but the NY Post claims she had issues with the case earlier, but two less experienced prosecutors Ann Prunty & Joan Illuzzi-Orbon pushed ahead at the urgings of Dan Alonso, meaning those three should do any falling on swords, not Friel. Is she advancing or protecting her career by stepping aside before the fallout hits?
posted by jeffburdges at 8:51 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just believe in the presumption of innocence. I take no pleasure in this case either way, I just dislike the rush to judgement people had in the face of apparently problematic evidence. IMHO being strongly for either side without strong evidence is lazy, prejudiced thinking. I'm coming at this from a legal POV however; other people seemed to take it as an opportunity to moralise.

I do have to ask why I shouldn't respect the parties in a case no matter where they are from or what their job happens to be - law should not be a matter of discrimination, and IMO I'd be a terrible lawyer to approach it any other way.

On preview, see jeffburdges.
posted by jaduncan at 8:59 AM on July 3, 2011


Do we know why NYC's famous sex-crimes prosecutor Lisa Friel resigned? I'd naively assumed she was "falling on her sword", but the NY Post claims she had issues with the case earlier, but two less experienced prosecutors Ann Prunty & Joan Illuzzi-Orbon pushed ahead at the urgings of Dan Alonso, meaning those three should do any falling on swords, not Friel. Is she advancing or protecting her career by stepping aside before the fallout hits?

From my reading of the NYT coverage, that suggests that Manhattan DA Vance and Friel didn't get along. Friel has been in the the sex crimes unit for 30 years and is closely identified with Vance's famous predecessor, who Vance has fallen out with because of his reforms to the department. The NYT article suggests that Vance took the DSK case away from the sex crimes unit. It seems, in my interpretation of the NYT report, he did this probably because Vance didn't trust Friel politically (already seen as a DA in trouble even before this, the DSK case seemed likely to rescue or break Vance's career) so even though she and her unit were far more experienced, Vance gave the case to non-sex crime unit lawyers under him whom he trusted more.
posted by Bwithh at 11:06 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"At what point does an accuser become unreliable for you guys? Ever?"

Some people still believe Crystal Mangum was raped.
posted by Ardiril at 11:43 AM on July 3, 2011


hydropsyche i writes "Like I could sort of understand maybe people feel a patriotic connection if the person involved were American."

FYI: The userbase of Metafilter isn't exclusively American.
posted by Mitheral at 12:36 PM on July 3, 2011


I understand that all MeFites aren't Americans, but I'm assuming the folks who are that knowledgeable about the US legal system are.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:46 PM on July 3, 2011


FYI, this has been on the front pages of newspapers and top news on tv channels all over Europe as well. So, there's that.

Then, there may be an interest in general in legal cases involving high profile figures in the world of finance. Not to mention possible presidential candidates of France, a major nation in the G8, G10 whatever it is now. So there's also that.

There may also be a general interest in high profile cases involving accusations of rape. Additionally, because of the economic/social disparity between accused and accuser.

And, an interest in high profile cases that put into question the principle of presumption of innocence.

Finally, a big interest in how the media has been handling such a case.

So, pretty much, I'd say it's a case that does warrant all the attention it got.
posted by bitteschoen at 1:09 PM on July 3, 2011


(btw when I say all over Europe it's just that I don't know how the coverage was outside of US and Europe, that's all, it may have likely gotten a lot of coverage in other parts of the world too)
posted by bitteschoen at 1:10 PM on July 3, 2011


"involving high profile figures in the world of finance" ... who also strongly supported Greece.
posted by Ardiril at 1:18 PM on July 3, 2011


The Gambler: Dominique Strauss-Kahn - A Psychological Profile

a portrait of DSK's personality by his friends as reported by Le Monde (and translated from the French by Worldcrunch) , so a biased source but interesting reading nonetheless:

"This inner circle knows why the Sofitel story ‘caught on’: why it seemed credible, even if it was beyond the pale, with its dark side and also the possibility that it could have been part of a set-up. As one entourage member put it: ‘’In Dominique, you get the brightest guy of his generation -- and Darth Vader.’’"

""Let’s face it, the erotic esthetic of Eyes Wide Shut is Dominique’s preferred universe," says a former female colleague, referring to the Stanley Kubrick film."

possibly the most French quote from the piece: "Even business leaders and high-level government officials talked about his relentless womanizing. As one of his oldest advisors put it: "He has as many affairs in a month as you or I would have in our whole lives"."
posted by Bwithh at 3:16 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I'm going to reserve judgement about the allegations that the accuser was a prostitute until I see it substantiated somewhere other than as a vague rumor with anonymous attribution in the NYPost (c'mon folks, media literacy 101). But suppose that she was, and that DSK had engaged her services in that capacity. Is there evidence that he paid her, or some agreement about the particular services she was to provide? 'Cause if he didn't pay for what he got, or got some service that she hadn't agreed to provide, then that would mean that he changed the terms of their arrangement, engaging in sexual activity that she hadn't consented too. Now, legally, what constitutes rape and sexual assault varies a lot by jurisdiction, but morally, rape is any non-consensual sex. This is not a closed case yet.
posted by eviemath at 3:33 PM on July 3, 2011


Is there evidence that he paid her
Isn't this backwards, with respect to how the American legal system is supposed to work?

It's not the burden of the defense to provide evidence that a crime didn't happen. It's the burden of the prosecution to provide evidence that a crime did happen. So shouldn't the question be (even taking for granted this what-if scenario that they agreed to sex for money) "Is there evidence he didn't pay her"?

And in any case, at this point, "Oh, wait, what really happened is that we agreed that he would pay me for sex, we had sex, and he didn't pay" would mean that, once again, she has demonstrably lie to police and DAs about the case. Not exactly decreasing the reasonable doubt.

I understand that you drew a distinction between the legal and moral senses of rape, but you followed that up with "This is not a closed case yet". In my opinion, postulating a what-if scenario without evidence, in which the legal system is turned upside down by requiring the defense to prove innocence instead of the prosecution to prove guilt, and which would prove that she lied again about the case to the police and DAs, doesn't really budge the "closed case" or "not closed case" meter very much, frankly.
posted by Flunkie at 4:22 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


would mean that, once again, she has demonstrably lie to police and DAs about the case. Not exactly decreasing the reasonable doubt.

Not to mention that it wouldn't actually constitute rape.
posted by Justinian at 4:58 PM on July 3, 2011


"But suppose that she was, and that DSK had engaged her services in that capacity."

Suppose she is, and suppose further that she blew the old guy and only thereafter did she mention money. That is a classic scam that has long plagued upscale hotels, much like bedbugs.
posted by Ardiril at 5:04 PM on July 3, 2011


Sorry, replace my last sentence with something lacking snappy wordplay but unambiguous like: it is my opinion that we still have insufficient information here on Metafilter to conclusively - in the moral, not legal, sense, since we are not a court of law anyway - determine that DSK did not rape his accuser (or vice versa, of course).

Can I pass on Flunkie's pedanticness to Justinian and require that he specify that it is questionable about whether this new hypothetical situation involving prostitution would constitute New York's legal definition of rape? Morally, performing any sex act with/on another person who has not consented to that sex act is rape.

Anyway, if there was prostitution involved, then both the accuser and DSK would have yet again lied to police and DAs about the case. Why single out the accuser?

posted by eviemath at 5:05 PM on July 3, 2011


Ardiril, could you cite a source?
posted by eviemath at 5:07 PM on July 3, 2011


"Why single out the accuser?" - Because the accuser's testimony is the only evidence of a crime that the prosecutors have. All the physical evidence shows is that

eviemath: Go work HR at an upscale hotel. With housekeeping staffs, larceny, drugs, prostitution, and conspiracy are the four biggest problems.
posted by Ardiril at 5:13 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


@jeffburdges
Another story on the Friel angle (which may well be premptive-strike leaking by the DA)
posted by Bwithh at 5:18 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, upthread some comments alleged that the accuser was involved in prostitution. Given that prostitution is a crime in New York, then yes, I believe the burden of proof would be on whoever was alleging that the woman was prostituting herself. Legally speaking, pointing out holes in the prosecution's argument to call reasonable doubt on the case is a defense, but my understanding is that baseless speculation does not constitute a defense.

Ardiril, "Go work HR at an upscale hotel" is not equivalent to citing a source. At least clarify that this is your opinion or prejudice or something. How common is it for housekeeping staff at upscale hotels to engage in prostitution/what proportion of housekeeping staff are typically involved? .001% > .0001%, so without such information, saying that "larceny, drugs, prostitution, and conspiracy are the four biggest problems" gives much innuendo but little actual useable fact. What is the cutoff for "upscale hotel"? (And: conspiracy to do what?!)
posted by eviemath at 5:22 PM on July 3, 2011


eviemath, I'm sorry if you think I'm being "pedantic" when I bring up one of the fundamental bases of our legal system in response to your hypothetical situation which flies in the face of it and you saying that "this case isn't closed yet", but if you're honestly talking strictly and only about the moral, and not legal, situation, who exactly do you think you're arguing with?

I think you would be hard pressed to find someone here who doesn't think it's possible that he had sex with her against her will. And I think that's probably the case all the way from the start of this thread to the present, with all of its revelations along the way. You don't have to think up hypothetical situations without any evidence behind them to convince anybody that it's possible.
posted by Flunkie at 5:25 PM on July 3, 2011


Given that prostitution is a crime in New York, then yes, I believe the burden of proof would be on whoever was alleging that the woman was prostituting herself
Oh come on. Are you kidding?

This would be true if she were on trial for prostitution, not if someone else were on trial for something else.
posted by Flunkie at 5:26 PM on July 3, 2011


How about my two years working at one? We were constantly hiring and firing housekeepers.

As for conspiracy: housekeepers are often the eyes and ears for outside crooks. They pass their information on and then get a cut later.
posted by Ardiril at 5:31 PM on July 3, 2011


The most fascinating angle of the NYP article is their implication that the hotel workers union is involved in pimping and sex trafficking. That's just begging for lawsuits.
posted by Ardiril at 6:11 PM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Flunkie:

(1) I entered the fray here with two posts where I explicitly said that I was making an ethical, not a legal argument. My impression was that I was subsequently arguing against the people who had provided some counter-arguments to my original posts.

(2) it wasn't my hypothetical: 1, 2, 3, 4 (I think I missed one here?)

(3) a number of people were arguing exactly that they believed it likely that DSK was being falsely accused; as well, some of the linked articles were arguing or strongly implying this position: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; I've been arguing against this point of view.

----------

When I read back through this thread, there seem to be a few common discussion points or arguments:

(1) myself and others have been arguing that:
(i) we don't doubt that the recent revelations about the accuser will make a conviction very unlikely; we are not making a legal argument
(ii) we do not think that the allegations against the accuser should damage her credibility in this instance; we understand that this is an ethical argument, not a legal argument (with a later update that her lying about what she did in the 15 minutes immediately after the alleged rape does impinge on this particular case, and thus might matter, though given that DSK, or perhaps his lawyers?, also made an untrue statement about the incident; so it's still not clear who is more believable)
(iii) we have been trying to engage those who do think that the allegations against the accuser do and should damage her credibility in court in an ethical debate about this

(2) a number of folks have been arguing that the reality of the US justice system is that the allegations against the accuser will damage her credibility in court and do make a conviction unlikely

(3) some other people have been coming up with random conspiracy theories about the accuser

Much confusion seems to have arisen by (what I perceive to be) misreading on the part of folks in category (2) of the posts by the folks in category (1). The (2) folks seem to think that the (1) folks are making some sort of legal argument. The (1) folks keep repeating themselves with slight variations because of this, which seems to have led the (2) folks to progressively take more extreme positions vis a vis what they think is likely the actual truth of the matter. Add to that the random conspiracies from the (3) folks, which the (1) folks are also arguing against, but which the (2) folks seem to take as directed toward them, and you have an increasingly contentious discussion thread.
posted by eviemath at 6:31 PM on July 3, 2011


The most fascinating angle of the NYP article is their implication that the hotel workers union is involved in pimping and sex trafficking.

Heh. Yeah, I noticed that too.
posted by eviemath at 6:32 PM on July 3, 2011


(But you are still making largely unsubstantiated claims, Ardiril. Any statistics? Any links? What was the name of the hotel that you worked at, and how many/what proportion of housekeeping employees were involved in prostitution within the hotel? Also, conspiracy is a bit more than just providing information.)
posted by eviemath at 6:35 PM on July 3, 2011


(1) I entered the fray here with two posts where I explicitly said that I was making an ethical, not a legal argument. My impression was that I was subsequently arguing against the people who had provided some counter-arguments to my original posts.
When you say "this is not a closed case" and "the burden of proof is on the people accusing her of prostitution", you're making a legal argument, regardless of whether or not you say that you're making a moral argument.
(2) it wasn't my hypothetical: 1, 2, 3, 4 (I think I missed one here?)
Great, you didn't bring it up. You just argued that whoever alleges that she's a prostitute must prove that she's a prostitute or else DSK is guilty of rape because he didn't pay her. Or something.
(3) a number of people were arguing exactly that they believed it likely that DSK was being falsely accused; as well, some of the linked articles were arguing or strongly implying this position: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; I've been arguing against this point of view.
Please explain to me how "it is likely that he is falsely accused" is incompatible with "it is possible that he had sex with her against her will".

At this point, again, I will just say if you're strictly talking about the moral situation, fine, whatever.
posted by Flunkie at 6:38 PM on July 3, 2011


Flunkie: see my previous link for a discussion of the legal definition of "false allegation" (it starts on p. 3). If you want to insist that I use legalistic-sounding language in its purely technical sense, then may I ask that you do the same yourself?

But I'm fine with fine, whatever. This line of argument is not likely to lead to much useful discussion.
posted by eviemath at 6:44 PM on July 3, 2011


The vast bulk of this thread consists of unsubstantiated claims, and now you want statistics? I worked in the hotel industry 20 years ago, I didn't document it. Google "hotel prostitution" if you are that interested.

And, I am aware that the legal definition of conspiracy is more nuanced than the popular definition.
posted by Ardiril at 6:45 PM on July 3, 2011


Flunkie: see my previous link for a discussion of the legal definition of "false allegation" (it starts on p. 3). If you want to insist that I use legalistic-sounding language in its purely technical sense, then may I ask that you do the same yourself?
I'm sorry, I genuinely don't know what you're getting at here. Is this intended as a response to my request that you please explain how "it is likely that such-and-such" is incompatible with "it is possible that not such-and-such"? If so, I don't see how it addresses that.
posted by Flunkie at 6:52 PM on July 3, 2011


Ardiril: this popular definition?

Yeah, there have been a lot of unsubstantiated claims in this thread. I made one that I did not provide a link for. And asked a lot of people to back up their claims, including you.
posted by eviemath at 6:59 PM on July 3, 2011


Flunkie: you asked,

Please explain to me how "it is likely that he is falsely accused" is incompatible with "it is possible that he had sex with her against her will".

To say that DSK is falsely accused of raping the maid is to say that he did not rape her. Not that she inaccurately described certain aspects of the rape; a false rape accusation is an accusation where no rape, in any manner, occurred. I do understand that, due to legal technicalities, not every situation where someone has sex with someone else against their will fits the legal definition of rape. As I've attempted to make clear, I am using the ethical definition of rape as sex against the will of the other person. I did not want to quote two pages of my link, so perhaps was unfairly relying on you to actually read it and connect these dots yourself. My apologies.
posted by eviemath at 7:05 PM on July 3, 2011


Erg, on second read, that was unnecessarily snarky. Sorry (for reals, this time).
posted by eviemath at 7:18 PM on July 3, 2011


Are you equating rape with a blowjob?
posted by Ardiril at 7:20 PM on July 3, 2011


Flunkie: you asked,

Please explain to me how "it is likely that he is falsely accused" is incompatible with "it is possible that he had sex with her against her will".

To say that DSK is falsely accused of raping the maid is to say that he did not rape her.
But to say "it is likely that he is falsely accused" is not to say "he is falsely accused", and to say "it is possible that he raped her" is not to say "he raped her".

I didn't ask you to explain how "he is falsely accused" is incompatible with "he raped her".

I hope this isn't too "pedantic".
posted by Flunkie at 7:46 PM on July 3, 2011


According to this Tristane Banon is planning on filing a criminal complaint against DSK when he gets back to France. But I'm sure because she's part of the West African mafia as well, right guys?
By delmoi's logic, this makes the UN "racist" for, um, pointing out that what, West Africans come from West Africa?
First of all, five comments in a row? Second of all what are you talking about? I said it was racist to say, because this woman is west African, and apparently knows someone who's in jail, she's a part of the west African Mafia and exactly the same as the person who scammed you out of your car. The only thing these people have in common is their ethnicity, but in your mind they're the same, apparently.
If you heard about a guy named Tony DiFrancesco who owned a body shop and a carting company and was charged or suspected of money laundering, would it be "racist" to speculate he had ties to the Italian mafia?
Uh, yes? Obviously. How is that even a question? You don't have to be a member of the mafia to launder money.
I just believe in the presumption of innocence. I take no pleasure in this case either way, I just dislike the rush to judgement people had in the face of apparently problematic evidence.
Yet, in this thread people have no problem assuming that this woman is a criminal herself, despite never having been convicted of or even charged with a crime (as far as we know)

If there was a more reliable source on her being a prostitute, I think that would change my mind.
posted by delmoi at 3:00 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yet, in this thread people have no problem assuming that this woman is a criminal herself, despite never having been convicted of or even charged with a crime (as far as we know)

She (and again, this is hearsay) apparently confessed to making false statements under oath regarding the rape that she alleged previously for the purposes of her asylum claim. This is a confession to perjury, and a direct statement that she is a criminal in a matter that can legally be taken to indicate bad character for the purposes of

Set aside from this, you are correct that the presumption of innocence does not apply, because she is not faced with the prospect of her liberty being removed. Presumption of innocence is a legal right.

What I am saying to you is that regardless of what actually happened, on the reported facts that we have it is almost impossible that DSK would not be found legally innocent due to lack of proof.
posted by jaduncan at 3:28 AM on July 4, 2011


She (and again, this is hearsay) apparently confessed to making false statements under oath regarding the rape that she alleged previously for the purposes of her asylum claim.
This is false. She didn't say anything about the rape on her asylum claim.
In addition, one of the officials said, she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application. She also told them that she had been subjected to genital mutilation, but her account to the investigators differed from what was contained in the asylum application.
If you're going to accuse this woman of being a criminal you should at least make sure your basic facts are correct.
posted by delmoi at 3:38 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


jaduncan: just out of curiosity, do you think Tristane Banon is lying as well about being sexually assaulted by DSK?
posted by delmoi at 3:39 AM on July 4, 2011


just out of curiosity, do you think Tristane Banon is lying as well about being sexually assaulted by DSK
The Banon story has become confusing lately. In 2003, a few months after the alleged rape attempt, she published a book called Confessed mistakes where she gave an account of her interviews with DSK. The chapter was removed from the book before publication after a phone call from DSK's entourage, but has been published a few days ago. Surprise: it's completely bland (it's here in French). At best, DSK is described as "sympathetic and charming, of course". At worst, he sounds like a slightly creepy windbag who looks at her in a "heavy" way that makes her feel uneasy. They met a second time with no more success and she leaves after half a hour ("I got out pretty good"). DSK is supposed to have turned into a "rutting chimp" during the second interview, but in her 2003 account he's just blabbing banalities while more or less trying to get into her pants. Her publisher says that the book was supposed to be light reading and that a rape accusation would not have been put in it anyway.
This doesn't prove or disprove anything of course and pro- and anti-DSK speculations are already in full swing, but if this case ever goes to court DSK's lawyers are going to have a field day.
posted by elgilito at 5:37 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


elgilito: There's no inconsistency there, the fact that a sexual assault isn't mentioned in a book doesn't mean it didn't happen. She said that at the time it happened she didn't want to report about it. She mentioned during a TV taping in 2007, but the name was censored by the producers.
posted by delmoi at 6:16 AM on July 4, 2011


If you read the chapter, she reports the interview in detail in a very light-hearted style. She starts by saying that she "harrassed" DSK to get the interview and in the end she's just miffed that the interview got nowhere. The worse he does (apart being somehow creepy) is to invite her for coffee for a third interview. Why create such a mild narrative in the first place? Perhaps this is the way certain victims act due to a combination of denial, shame and social pressure. Perhaps she had to reinvent a peaceful, amusing version of what had actually happened in order to get on with her life. But what version of the events are we (or a court) supposed to believe now?
posted by elgilito at 7:25 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just because there's no possible place in the interview to have conveniently skipped over the attempted rape, and that the tone of the piece is nonsensical if read thinking that there was an attempted rape in there, doesn't mean there wasn't an attempted rape! Because she coulda just left it out!
posted by kafziel at 7:33 AM on July 4, 2011


Well, Banon will sue DSK for attempted rape tomorrow, and his lawyers say that he'll countersue her for slander.
posted by elgilito at 1:32 PM on July 4, 2011


But to say "it is likely that he is falsely accused" is not to say "he is falsely accused", and to say "it is possible that he raped her" is not to say "he raped her".

I didn't ask you to explain how "he is falsely accused" is incompatible with "he raped her".

I hope this isn't too "pedantic".


Pedantic, but since you do have a valid point, not "too" pedantic:P But to continue in this vein:

When you say "this is not a closed case" and "the burden of proof is on the people accusing her of prostitution", you're making a legal argument, regardless of whether or not you say that you're making a moral argument.

No. These words all have conventional meanings as well as technical meanings in the legal world. When discussing a legal case, it is reasonable to assume that they are being used in the legal sense of course - except when explicitly stated otherwise.

This seems to be the crux of our argument, if I am understanding your comments rightly, Flunkie. Would it be accurate to say that you wish to only discuss the legal merits (or lack thereof) of the rape allegation against DSK?

We should perhaps merely ignore each other's comments, then, since I think that discussing the legal merits of a case that we do not have nearly all of the important, relevant evidence for is counterproductive; and so wish to only discuss the ethical implications of how this case is being presented and discussed in the media and on metafilter. Please do not try to impose your agenda for this discussion thread on my unrelated comments.
posted by eviemath at 6:33 PM on July 4, 2011


Oh, well then, I'm glad it's not "too" pedantic of me to point out that I didn't ask the absurdly obvious question that you answered -- I mean, really, you thought I was asking "How is falsely accused of raping her incompatible with raped her"?! -- and subsequently insulted me about because I didn't understand how your answer related to my question (spoiler alert: turns out that the reason I didn't understand how your answer related to my question was because your answer didn't relate to my question).
We should perhaps merely ignore each other's comments
Yeah, feel free to start doing that.
posted by Flunkie at 9:42 PM on July 4, 2011


My (genuine) apologies, it was indeed the allegation of having been "beaten, arrested and imprisoned" after having her "house burned down" and then her husband killed that was admitted to be perjury.

The rape case was merely this:
"in two seperate interviews with district attorneys assigned to the case, the complainant started that she had been the victim of a gang rape in the past in her native country and provided details of the attack. During both of these interviews, the victim cried and appeared to be markedly distraught when recounting the incident. In subsequent interviews, she admitted that the gang rape had never occured. Instead, she stated that she had lied about its occurrence and fabricated the details, and that this false incident was part of the narrative that she had been directed to memorize as part of her asylum application process."

This would, of course, merely be conspiracy to perjure.

jaduncan: just out of curiosity, do you think Tristane Banon is lying as well about being sexually assaulted by DSK?


I don't know the facts, it is impossible to say.

You appear to be thinking that I am stating that the accuser in both cases must be lying. I am not saying that at all. I am saying that it is impossible to know the truth of what occured in the NYC case, but that the chances of conviction here are low absent other evidence because the accuser's testimony is unlikely to be trusted given that she is a confessed perjurer who receives large sums into her bank account, had an ongoing conspiracy to perjure in future, lied during the investigation to cover up her previous perjury and

If you confess to perjury in general, do not expect to win an A said/B said case against a defendant with no demonstrable history of perjury or crimes of dishonesty. Of any kind, not just rape. That's it.

I (and it boggles my mind that I have to make this clear again) am not saying that people who allege rape are automatically to have their social status taken into account, merely that on the reported facts it appears unlikely that a prosecution will succeed.
posted by jaduncan at 10:40 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jaducan: She (and again, this is hearsay) apparently confessed to making false statements under oath regarding the rape that she alleged previously for the purposes of her asylum claim.
I said: "This is false. She didn't say anything about the rape on her asylum claim." And then I quoted the NYT article
NYT: In addition, one of the officials said, she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application. She also told them that she had been subjected to genital mutilation, but her account to the investigators differed from what was contained in the asylum application.
Jaducan: she is a confessed perjurer

So... WTF are you talking about? If she were a 'admitted perjurer' that would obviously impact her credibility. but she's not. I mean for fuck sake, at least make an effort to understand the basic facts of the case.
posted by delmoi at 12:46 AM on July 7, 2011


Delmoi, have you read the comment i just made, or the DA's letter? She confessed to having made up the killing of her husband in her asylum claim, as stated in the letter from the DA. This was a statement made under oath. This is perjury.

I also apologised for accidentally stating that she had perjured herself over the rape issue. This was merely a planned false statement as part of a memorised false narrative (see the DA letter again) and thus conspiracy to purjure.

Aside from this I have to stay I'm stepping away from this thread since you don't appear to be approaching this in a good faith way, and have reached the point of swearing at me whilst thinking I have an opinion over the truth of what happened when I do not.

An apology would be appreciated, but I'm quite sure you won't bother.
posted by jaduncan at 2:34 AM on July 7, 2011


Hmm, I guess that's correct then. Anyway, I was also under the impression that DSK also made false statements or changed his story about the attack. So you have two people who changed their stories. And DSK does have a history of sexually assaulting women (or at least being accused of doing so).

Now, you could make the argument that when one non-credible person accuses another non-credible person of a crime you should just default to siding with the defense because of the reasonable doubt issue. A more sensible option would be to look at the physical evidence and see where that leads.

But either way, neither DSK nor this woman have perfect histories, But there still isn't anything to suggest (at least to me) that she's the kind of person who would randomly have sex with someone and then accuse them of rape. While on the other hand, DSK does seem like the kind of person who sexually assaults people, as evidenced by the multiple people who claim to have been sexually assaulted by him.

Also, as I said the DA letter was much more damming then the NYT article.
posted by delmoi at 5:50 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm, apparently she's suing the post
posted by delmoi at 4:43 AM on July 11, 2011


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