The sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn is on the verge of collapse as investigators have uncovered major holes in the credibility of the housekeeper who charged that he attacked her in his Manhattan hotel suite in May, according to two well-placed law enforcement officials.
Although forensic tests found unambiguous evidence of a sexual encounter between Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a French politician, and the woman, prosecutors do not believe much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances or about herself.
Since her initial allegation on May 14, the accuser has repeatedly lied, one of the law enforcement officials said.
Senior prosecutors met with lawyers for Mr. Strauss-Kahn on Thursday and provided details about their findings, and the parties are discussing whether to dismiss the felony charges. Among the discoveries, one of the officials said, are issues involving the asylum application of the 32-year-old housekeeper, who is Guinean, and possible links to criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.
Is there enough evidence to convict Dominique Strauss-Kahn in court? I can't tell. Maybe on Friday at the Grand Jury hearing more will be revealed. I expected there to be more by now, though.
From the outside, we have what looks like a He Said She Said case. The accuser is being kept anonymous, while the accused is the head of the International Monetary Fund. So, this being 2011, we naturally believe the accuser on the grounds that an anonymous person is likely more reliable than a famous international financial expert.
In the case of this particular international financial expert, moreover, we have a long chain of rumors about him abusing women under his influence. DSK is an expert at misusing influence. On the other hand, a maid with a vacuum cleaner isn't somebody who thinks that maybe if she gives in to his advances, she'll get put in charge of the Portugal bailout.
What facts have been revealed might be consistent with a variety of scenarios, none of which would reflect well on DSK. But not all of them would be consistent with outright stranger rape. For example, say he lays a few Benjamin Franklins on the table. Needing cash, the maid accepts them. A few minutes later, out in the corridor, she runs into her boss, who asks why her lipstick is a mess. Panicking about losing her job, she makes up a story about a naked presidential candidate jumping her and forcing her to make a mess of her lipstick.
Well, maybe. And, keep in mind, that's probably the scenario that makes DSK look best (short of a gigantic movie-style conspiracy), which isn't very good.
On a national level, it's generally not a good idea to let in to your country foreigners like this lady who seem only skilled at working the system. From today's NYT:
“It is a mess, a mess on both sides,” one official said.
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.
That man, the investigators learned, had been arrested on charges of possessing 400 pounds of marijuana. He is among a number of individuals who made multiple cash deposits, totaling around $100,000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years. The deposits were made in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.
The investigators also learned that she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies. The woman had insisted she had only one phone and said she knew nothing about the deposits except that they were made by a man she described as her fiancé and his friends.
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.
Will they kick her out?
This is not going down in the history books as an impressive performance by either the prestige or tabloid presses. Back in May, there quickly emerged questions about why this woman was living in an apartment building for AIDS sufferers (I read it in the Daily Telegraph -- the Brits tend to be better at scandal than us), but then those questions just went away because ... I guess everybody really, really wants to find the real life Great White Defendant like we've seen on Law & Order for 20 years.
On the other hand, the stuff in this article doesn't prove DSK didn't do it either. We just have a doubtful-sounding story from a doubtful-sounding accuser.
By the way, the prosecutors say they haven't found any evidence that a political conspiracy was behind it.