Tuesday, August 23, 2011

L'Affaire DSK Se Conclut

The New York DA's office has moved to drop criminal charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, because it does not believe that it could win the case in court. Very few people are likely to see this as a victory for justice: DSK's defenders will no doubt claim that he has been personally humiliated and politically destroyed, in a case that proves to have no merit; those who side with the hotel maid will claim that evidence of a grave crime is being set aside, as the victim, having already been abused in private, is now abused further in the court of public opinion. Meanwhile, other legal matters -- a civil case in New York, and a separate rape case in France -- are still pending.

As we've said before, we don't think that the DA's office has behaved badly here. They had allegations of a serious crime, supported by forensic evidence. The man accused of committing the crime was a wealthy foreigner sitting on an airplane; they moved quickly to arrest him. Everything else followed as one would expect. And when, upon further investigation, the DA concluded that the witness making the allegations was unreliable, they abandoned the case. What else should they have done?

Please don't turn DSK into some sort of innocent martyr. As the AP reminds us:
Strauss-Kahn's semen was found on her uniform dress, his DNA was identified on pantyhose and underwear she was wearing, and a gynecological exam found an area of "redness," according to prosecutors. But they said none of that was incontrovertible proof of a sexual assault. ... Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have said anything that happened wasn't forced.
There was some sort of sexual encounter in that hotel room. Whether it was assault -- or, for that matter, whether it was even with the maid -- we will probably never know. It could have been seduction, or prostitution, or some other form of adulterous liaison. Beyond that, your personal convictions depend very largely on whether you are the sort of person who reflexively trusts rich white men or poor black women. In other words, absent any proof, we are left with our prejudices.

And then there is the money.

Seems that somebody dropped $60,000 into the maid's bank account. She claims it was her jailed boyfriend, and such things are certainly not impossible. On the other hand, we have always held open -- and still do -- the possibility that somewhere in this case there is a French secret agent holding a suitcase full of cash. It's a long shot, for certain. But stranger things have surely happened.

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