Friday, July 1, 2011

The false accusation case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn collapses

To the surprise of no one who has done even a smidgen of due diligence in the sexual assault case against former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the New York Times and other news outlets are reporting that the whole thing is falling apart because the accuser has been spinning more stories than did Crystal Mangum of Duke Lacrosse case fame. His release on his own recognizance (after originally being held on $5 million bond) is the last step before this case officially is trashed, I believe.

Shortly after Strauss-Kahn's arrest, Kerwyn and I were discussing the case and as she laid out the facts, it was pretty obvious that from the start, the police and, more important, the Manhattan district attorney's office, were telling Mike Nifongesque lies. Remember that he supposedly left the hotel immediately after the attempted rape, being in such a rush that he left his cellphone behind in an attempt to quickly get out of the country?

It turns out that he checked out of the hotel in an orderly fashion, went to the airport, and then called the hotel to see if they could deliver his cellphone to him. None of his actions seemed to be those of a man desperately trying to leave the USA, although given the state of "law enforcement" in this country, I can't blame him for wanting to get the heck out of this place.

Even those lies from the police and prosecutors aside, it gets even better, much better. However, we first must travel down a short memory lane, courtesy of our friends at the Grey Lady, who always are outraged, OUTRAGED at the mere accusation of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Let us look at the various statements coming from the DA's office right after the arrest (this is significant because of what the NYT NOW is claiming about Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., and his underlings):
Artie McConnell, assistant district attorney, at Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arraignment in Criminal Court on May 16:

“The victim provided very powerful details consistent with violent sexual assault committed by the defendant, which establishes all the necessary elements of the crime he is charged with.”

“She made outcries to multiple witnesses immediately after the incident, both to hotel staff and law enforcement. She was then taken to the hospital and was given a full sexual assault forensic examination. The observations and findings during that exam corroborate her accounts.”

Mr. McConnell at a bail hearing on May 19:

“The complainant in this case has offered a compelling and unwavering story about what occurred in the defendant’s room. She made immediate outcries to multiple witnesses, both to hotel staff and to police.”

“The victim was given a complete and expert forensic examination and the findings from that examination are consistent with her account. The Crime Scene Unit processed the hotel room and the scene, and while those scientific tests have not been completed, the preliminary indications are that forensic evidence that supports the victim’s version of events may be found.”
Of course, what sexual assault claim would be complete without the editorial page angst that came from the opinion folks at the NYT? Here is Maureen Dowd, who never seems to be without a stupid and poorly-informed opinion:
In the wake of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal, as more Frenchwomen venture sexual harassment charges against elite men, the capital of seduction is reeling at the abrupt shift from can-can to can’t-can’t. Le Canard Enchaîné, a satirical weekly, still argues that “News always stops at the bedroom door,” but many French seem ready to bid adieu to the maxim.

As Libération editor Nicolas Demorand wrote in an editorial: “Now that voices have been freed, and the ceiling of glass and shame has been bashed in, other scandals may now arise.”

After long scorning American Puritanism and political correctness on gender issues, the French are shocked to find themselves in a very American debate about the male exploitation/seduction of women, and the nature of consent.
Just as the NYT immediately jumped to the conclusion that Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans had raped Crystal Mangum, writers at the paper quickly assumed that the Strauss-Kahn accuser was telling the unvarnished truth. The letters that the paper saw fit to publish were full of the rush to judgment. This piece by Linda Martin Alcoff, a philosophy professor in New York, was pretty typical of the mindset of the NYT crowd.

In other words, it was assume guilt first and always believe the prosecutors, especially when they are prominent Democrats like Vance who have political ambitions. But, as in the Duke case, truth has carved a bit of a wedge in the NYT's narrative:
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 now 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 people involved in criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.
I have no doubt that the story that police and prosecutors fed the media -- that this large, naked man jumped from the bathroom and forced this poor, African immigrant to give him oral sex -- is utterly false. First, keep in mind that she is from Guinea, and is a French speaker. Second, I suspect that the encounter not only was mutual, but she planned it in advance, and most likely with some of the people with whom she is associated.

The article continues:
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.
I smell a setup from the beginning, one that even a semi-competent investigator would have found. However, given that the original investigation was done by the New York police and the DA's office, competency really is not in the job description; however, being able to act in an ideological manner that fits with the mentality at the NYT IS part of the job.

Nonetheless, the NYT continues to protect Vance and his crew, declaring:
In recent weeks, Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, Benjamin Brafman and William W. Taylor III, have made it clear that they would make the credibility of the woman a focus of their case. In a May 25 letter, they said they had uncovered information that would “gravely undermine the credibility” of the accuser.

Still, it was the prosecutor’s investigators who found the information about the woman. (Emphasis mine)
Right. It seems that no one at the NYT has managed to deal with what is obvious: If government investigators had found this damning evidence on their own, then why were Vance and company continuing to claim that the accuser was truthful and that they had a strong case? In other words, if their investigators found out these things, either one of two things happened, neither of which would reflect well on NY authorities.

The first would be that investigators told them what they had found, but Vance's charges continued to spout the same narrative, hoping that their rhetoric would overcome any problems. In other words, they knew the truth but lied.

The second would be that the investigators withheld information and gave it to their superiors only long after they had found out the truth, leaving Vance and the other prosecutors in the dark. This one makes no sense, which means that if what the NYT is saying is true, then Vance and those prosecutors involved with the case should be disbarred at the very least for knowingly making false statements in a very high-profile case.

There is a third possibility, and that is that the private investigators for the Strauss-Kahn defense did their own work and presented the facts to the Manhattan DA and warned them that if they did not act, the defense would make sure that the material would be leaked in a very unceremonious way. Any way one slices this material, however, it is clear that Vance and his employees have a lot of explaining to do.

Don't expect the mainstream media to ask those questions. Vance and the editorial staff at the NYT are joined at the ideological and political hip and the paper will do everything it can do to protect him. Likewise, the fact that Strauss-Kahn over the years has had the reputation of acting as, well, one might expect from someone who is known to be sexually-boorish, I doubt that too many mainstream reporters are going to invite the rage of the Maureen Dowds.

Nonetheless, we see yet another example of the Government-Media Alliance making false accusations, bringing false charges, and then ending up with egg on some collective faces. This is not the last time we will see this sorry scenario, and I only can feel for the next person who is caught in the crosshairs.


Anonymous said...

Wow this is truly the most racist blog I have ever been on , this is what the problem of the honky.

your racism is rooted not in a lack of facts or in bad ideas, but in your sense of self-worth.

The truth will not set you free because they are not interested in the truth, you are interested in maintaining their sad, two-bit sense of self-worth, which is partly built on feeling that you are better than black people – and anyone else who is “different”. It is like at the end of “The Bluest Eye”.

Also: you know perfectly well that blacks are getting screwed for no good reason – they have seen the ghettos, you know the numbers – but to avoid a sense of guilt you have to believe that blacks truly are just that screwed up all on their own.

you think like a wife beater

making themselves feel good by putting down others,
avoiding blame for their own actions,
listening only to their own sad, half-baked lies.
If you point out how off-base they are, they just call you names or think of a thousand and one reasons why you are wrong. Anything but taking a cold, hard, honest look at themselves. Because deep down they know the truth but are afraid to face it.

This sick, insecure frame of mind of white people seems to come from slave days when they had a relationship with black people that was nakedly abusive. They would do themselves and everyone else a world of good if they took the road to health: make right their wrongs and then base their self-worth on something good and true.

Shame on all of you honkys, your kids will be forcefully taken away and you put in prison, or in hell.

Anonymous said...

Bill: Love your blog. Found you though DIW and have been visiting ever since!

One thing that troubles me, from today's NYT on-line piece, is that the forensics verified an encounter between the accused and the maid. If true, this is substantially different then the Duke case. Now we have a situation where the maid's past fabrications can come into play, yet SK's past daliances probably can't, to avoid prejudicing fairness. This is not "balanced" to me. How should prosecutors behave when there (apparently) is physical evidence, but the accuser's past actions cloud credibility?

Joe K.

William L. Anderson said...

Gee, 12:44, I guess you'll have to tell my sons about your great discovery of my racism. Both of them are black, but I am sure that they immediately will believe everything you tell them.

William L. Anderson said...

Good question, Joe. The issue in a case like this, in which there are no injuries (and if there had been injuries, that would have been publicized to the hilt), then an accuser's credibility comes to the fore.

There was evidence of sex, but unless one thinks like an uberfeminist, not all sex is rape. Furthermore, I suspect that there even is more that is known that has not been made public. Prosecutors are quite reluctant to let out bad news, and I am sure part of the deal with the defense is that not all of the information is released.

Charles said...

I believe you are the racist here. You generalize all white people as "having insecure frame of mind". This is a stupid amateurish desciption by the way, and your blog is disgusting. By the way, I am black.

Bob said...

"She was then taken to the hospital and was given a full sexual assault forensic examination. The observations and findings during that exam corroborate her accounts.”

This really puts the credibility of forensic science into serious doubt.

jdcolv said...

Mr. Anderson: While I loath your snidely cynical attitude toward prosecutors and law enforcement officers, I found nothing in your comment on the Strauss-Kahn case to suggest racism. I thought it was just the self-indulgent opinionated commentary of another elitist academic thankfully sequestered away from the world of real people. I was going to point out the fact that having sons who are black has no relevance to whether one is racist (consider Strom Thurmond and his black daughter or the slave owners who sold away the children of daliances in the slave quarters), but then I noticed that you are an economist, a profession made up of individuals for whom flights of fancy and theorems made from cloud like data are the norm, so I did not bother.

William L. Anderson said...

Well, in the world of "real people," serious and factual investigations should be conducted, not faux investigations based upon narratives. You are correct about my cynicism toward police and prosecutors, but when we have people who lie and are not held accountable for those lies, then I guess I have the right to question what they do.

And, no, my children are not the result of my illicit dalliance with another woman. They are adopted. I chose them for my sons, so comparing adopting two boys with what Strom Thurmond did is obscene, even in the world of "real people."

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the article. I haven't followed this case closely and was unaware of the details. It does appear that it was another rush to judgement, like so many cases today.

You are one of the few writers willing to expose these serious issues within our judicial system. If more people did, they wouldn't be able to get away with it, so thank you for what you do.

I'm sorry to see there are ignorant posters trying to bring up the race card. It reminds me of the Duke case.

Anonymous said...

I am black. You criticize police. Therefore, you must be a racist. Nice syllogism. Must be summer break from high school.

Doc Ellis 124 said...

Greetings Dr Anderson


Thank you for writing this essay

Doc Ellis 124

johnlichtenstein said...

Wasn't there supposed to be other evidence? All they had was a he said she said case, and they thought they deserved a conviction with that?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Anderson, Thanks for keeping up on this "investigation". When I saw the headlines that DSK was to be released on his own recognizance, my initial thought was how interesting that he is released literally just days after Lagarde was officially named as his successor at IMF. The case doesn't really need to stick, his career is effectively over.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anderson:

First, thank you for your excellent analysis of the "case" against DSK ... and, as a long time reader of your writings, I (as other readers did, I'm sure) certainly saw the similarities to the Duke Lacrosse debacle.

Once again, I'm sure that the talking heads will put a postive spin here by pointing out how "the criminal justice system, though imperfect, works", and note that DSK is practically home free from the false allegations.


o Suppose DSK did not have a very supportive wife and the vast financial resources that it took to effectively build a comfortable quasi-prison that they could live in, awaiting his trial?

o Suppose DSK did not have the team of private investigators and attorneys to put the "case" under tight scrutiny, which one way or another undoubtedly was responsible for the prosecutor and police finally owning up to how shakey the "case" is?

IN OTHER WORDS: Suppose it were "one of us" that had been in DSK's position? ... What hope would we have???

Thank you, Sir, for all the good work you do ...


Puzzled said...

A few questions remain. Who would do this? How did the head of the IMF get set up in this way? Was the maid a form of Francisco D'Anconia, going after the IMF? Or was it a power play from within? Or, just someone who detected the obvious fact that a leader among thieves would have money?

Also, when will this man, innocent of these accusations, face justice for his real guilty actions - running the IMF?

Justine Valinotti said...

Puzzled: I've seen the "conspiracy theories." Two of them have some plausibility. One is that the current French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, was involved. That makes a certain amount of sense when one realizes that Sarkozy's popularity among French voters has plummeted, and polls show that either he or Marine LePen would beat Sarkozy in the next election.

The other theory says that central bankers of other countries set up the "sting" because the IMF was ready to do things that would devalue the dollar and other currencies.

Whatever the truth is, DSK's career is fini. I'm sure he'll find some other way to live out his days; I seriously doubt he'll lack for anything he needs. Still, the injustice of this situation is apalling.

And I speak as someone who survived childhood sexual abuse (by a family friend) and a sexual assault as an adult. I want to see, as much as anyone can want to see, the perpetrators of such crimes brought to justice. But, because of my experiences, I also understand how serious it is to charge someone with sexual assault. So, I have no desire to see the wrong person punished for such a crime, for there is no justice in that.

To 12:44--Because of some circumstances in my own life, I agree that many white people are racist in ways they don't even realize. Being a member of other so-called "minority" groups, I have experienced bigotry from people who didn't realize they were practicing it. However, in your blog, you do exactly what white racists do: You pick the worst and most sensational cases and use them to make generalities about an entire race. If that's not racism, I don't know what is. Professor Anderson is certainly not guilty of anything like that.

Anonymous said...

There is a very straightforward theory of the set up. The set up may have absolutely nothing to do with DSK and his special place in the world. It makes perfect sense that a gang would target wealthy people for sex and blackmail. Offer sex, and demand hush money. Why is that so hard to believe. As it turned out, the victim was wealthier and better known then expected, and so it blew up on them. You don't have to be a conspiracy nutcase to believe that is a serious possibility


Kerwyn said...

Hi all,

My the trolls abound!

Anyway, I do not believe this was a set up so to speak. Not in any organized fashion anyway. I do not believe this maid had a clue WHO this guy really was other than old and rich (and horny maybe). I think she saw a financial opportunity.

The problem with the SANE exam is this; consensual sex CAN look like non-consensual sex. You and your lover can be vigorous so to speak and there will be evidence of that. There are hallmarks that we see in forcible rape that we do not see in consensual. Another problem I have is there was no mention of him touching her genitalia, only her claim of oral. But now her lawyer says he bruised her?

I think there are to many missing pieces to this story (at least publicly. I doubt her and I doubt her strongly. I think she saw a fat old rich man and thought "Oh ya, payday". Her comments to her erstwhile "boyfriend" pretty much seal the deal on that.
Funny how she did NOT talk to him about "rape" but rather not to worry, the guy had lots of money and she knew what she was doing.

I think the pro's put their foot in the doo doo pile on this one.

William L. Anderson said...

Kerwyn is back! Trolls, beware! I've never yet known a troll who could out-think or out-fight the Great Kerwyn!

It turns out that the so-called shoulder injury came into play long after her original medical exam. After the investigators became suspicious, she was unreachable for several days, and when they were able to find her, she was claiming a new injury.

Anonymous said...

I've seen several columns the last few days claiming that questionable witnesses shouldn't stop the prosecution of DSK. The Wall Street Journal just published such a column. Regarding the Duke Hoax, the WSJ piece said the accuser "appeared" to be lying.

Today there was a big rally in Harlem. "Community Leaders" demanded that Vance go ahead with a trial.