Friday, July 1st, 2011

Alleged DSK Rape Victim Knows Bad People and Also Drinks!

The rumors have it that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is getting released on his own recognizance today, from his current state of house arrest. I read last night's Times story three times ("Strauss-Kahn Case Seen as Near Collapse"), and it's one of those cases where the reporters are conveying more than they can say; it's good reporting and also a really poorly edited piece of garbage? Because it doesn't actually explain the situation that would result in Strauss-Kahn's change in bail status. Let us sort the anonymous "law enforcement" claims about the accuser from most to least serious!

• "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." This is the most interesting thing, as it was recorded, and is the actual kind of thing that can be used in court.

• "the accuser has repeatedly lied, one of the law enforcement officials said." These lies are not explained or listed, except for some conflicts regarding her asylum application.

• a "number" of men put something like $50,000 in her bank account each year for two years. One of them was arrested for having a lot of drugs. She said one of these men was her fiancé.

• "she was paying hundreds of dollars every month in phone charges to five companies." I think this one is an insinuation that goes unelaborated?

• She said she was raped in her asylum application but the application contains no note of that, and she said she had been genitally mutilated before she arrived in America but her "account" differs from her formal application for asylum.

Annnnnnd that's it. You know what would be useful? Evidence presented in a court of law. Oh yes! The American way, so hated by French intellectuals.

Anyway, the Post comes up with a "law enforcement official" that says "She’s a con artist." Perhaps she is!

And: "They have unearthed photographs of her drinking and partying, despite her professed Muslim faith." And if we learned anything from New York's last messy public rape trial, it's that you certainly can't rape ladies who drink.

60 Comments / Post A Comment

Fury isn't the feeling I was hoping for this Friday morning.

zidaane (#373)

This is not the Bernard Henri-Levy apology post I was expecting.


coalbaron (#11,105)

Ben Stein does not get to win.

Annie K. (#3,563)

I was going to read that damn article twice to see whether NYT had any actual evidence but decided, based on previous experience, to wait until NYT found some actual evidence. I get it that this is the internet and news develops, but publishing unsourced hints seems trashy.

Why are you blaming the NYT here? The prosecution are the ones saying that the case is falling apart, and the NYT is reporting on that. They're not running a hit piece on her. I agree that the LEO claims don't discredit her claim, but you're shooting the messenger.

Brian Calandra (#3,753)

An immigrant who uses lots of cell phones? Yup, definitely unusual. But why are the Post, News, Times, et al so excited to set DSK free after they were so excited to presume him guilty? It's like journalists use hyperbole to sell newspapers and generate Web traffic. That's never happened before, either.

Drew Robertson (#3,552)

Il y a quelque chose qui cloche.

MaryHaines (#3,666)

Thank you for this. I got to the end of that article and wanted to go back and outline it myself, to figure out what exactly they were saying. Because…we already knew that DSK had a team looking to dig up dirt and discredit the witness, right? But the NYT says "Still, it was the prosecutor’s investigators who found the information about the woman." So how come it still reads like a smear campaign? And are we really going to find out that this woman intentionally lured the rich guy in the luxury suite into having consensual assault-y sex with her so that she could sue him and make money for her shady contacts in the marijuana business?

By the way, I can't decide how I feel about the fact that the Daily News front page still refers to DSK as "Le Perv."

keisertroll (#1,117)

And in eighth grade she plagiarized Emily Dickinson to win her school's poetry competition.

MichelleDean (#7,041)


Also the DA's office is showing remarkably little backbone here!


@MichelleDean Finding (or fabricating)lies in her asylum application could lead to her deportation, which would be awfully convenient.
And the head of the Sex Crimes Unit – which was already in trouble for supposedly fucking up the cop rape case – quit the other day.

MichelleDean (#7,041)

@SarahHeartburn Yes, although it sounds like the alleged lies in the application were of omission, insofar as apparently it doesn't include a reference to her alleged prior assault/fgm issues, and therefore the alleged lies weren't material to the success of the application. She might get in trouble if any of the crim stuff she's obviously gotten tangled in, willingly or not, was ongoing before she applied, though, I think.

It's a side issue but it's really not clear to me if this application is an old one that has already been approved or if it's still pending, anyway.

And yeah, the Friel lady quit, apparently over the HBO documentary in which it seems they talked about the rape cop case on camera but didn't turn the tapes over in discovery.

It's just startling to me that people involved with sex crimes prosecutions wouldn't expect this kind of smear campaign coming it's further surprising to me that they're all pretending shock that this woman knows someone in jail ("get the smelling salts!") and given their acquaintance with the justice system spoke to them about the benefits of pursuing these charges. I mean, good God, even if she was hoping to get some money from him, so what? That's the American Way! And it's not like she wasn't about to go through hell with this prosecution.

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@MichelleDean The Times report says that "she told investigators that her application for asylum included mention of a previous rape, but there was no such account in the application." Lying to the investigators would be a crime, but, more to the point here, lying to the investigators would seriously undermine her credibility.

MichelleDean (#7,041)

@SidAndFinancy So, if you have some experience with the asylum process, it might not surprise you as much to know that not every detail of an applicant's story makes it into an affidavit, for whatever reason, and because affidavits, almost all affidavits, are typically crafted with the help of lawyers, it would also not be surprising that the person who signed them would have a less-than-perfect recollection of what all they contained. All we had to go on here was hypotheticals, and I'm just saying hypothetically it's possible that this would have no bearing on her asylee status. Moreover, my point was not about her general credibility but rather whether these alleged lies would have been seen as materially affecting her asylee status specifically. (Assuming she succeeded with her application, which I haven't heard much about yet.)

Of course now the letter from the prosecutors has shown up saying she is admitting she flat-out lied about what was in her application (which the previous rape was not). So my point is moot.

jfruh (#713)

"…in which she discussed the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him." Yeah, possible benefits, like, "it sure would be nice if the guy who raped me went to jail — I would consider that a beneficial outcome?" Or "Turns out this guy who raped is super-rich, so maybe I can sue him in a civil trial, because I'm poor and that would be compensation for my ordeal?" Or "It would be beneficial to my sinister paymaster, Nicolas Sarkozy, if I trumped up these rape charges against this kindly French gentleman?" They're being awfully non-specific about the one piece of specific information they have.

@jfruh That's so vague it's what disturbs me most. That and the godawful 1000 words of Zoot! alors indignation that Bernard Henri-Levy is dictating to his intern at this very moment (I don't see him typing his own stuff; he needs his fingers free to flip his mullet).

turd_sandwich (#5,660)

@jfruh Also found this the most disturbing. I wondered whether the reported discussion of "the possible benefits of pursuing the charges" obscures an unreported conversation about the possible benefits of NOT pursuing the charges, e.g., uhh, the news today.

SeanP (#4,058)

@jfruh My understanding is that it's worse than "It would sure be nice if he went to jail". It was more along the lines of "I can make a lot of money from this". To be sure, that doesn't mean she wasn't raped, but it does honestly make the prosecution's job quite a lot harder.

The asylum application thing is disturbing as well. She evidently told investigators that she had been gang-raped in her home country, becoming quite emotional and providing a high level of detail about what happened. Upon later questioning, she indicated she had made the entire incident up, but she had been a victim of an unrelated rape. There were evidently quite a few other inconsistencies as well, regarding her actions after her encounter with DSK.

None of this is to say that something horrible didn't happen to this woman. She may very well have been raped. But the prosecution team has stated that after the alleged victim's many changes to her story, they no longer feel they can trust anything she says.

Final thought: DSK is almost certainly a douchebag, who at the very least used his position of power to obtain sex with this woman. But even douchebags don't deserve to be sent to jail on the testimony of a very unreliable witness and nothing else.

Can this be the juncture in the "narrative" where we start pointing fingers at really expensive lawyering?

lbf (#2,343)

@Alyce In Wonderland IOKIYAR, anytime.

Yawn (#4,506)

Um, yeah, if having links to people who may have possibly dealt drugs or laundered money precludes one from being raped, you'll need to excuse me as I have contacts to go make…

Rhubarb@twitter (#14,641)

@Yawn It's not that it precludes you from being raped, it just means that the prosecutors have to rely more on the forensic and circumstantial evidence.

Good people have fought for years to prevent rape victims from having their credibility attacked for having enjoyed sex in the past or for wearing low-cut tops. However, this does not mean that a person is incapable of lying because of the nature of the crime she alleged.

The main thing the court system is supposed to do is weigh the credibility of conflicting stories in a search for the truth. A long trail of lies (if this story is to believe) makes her a bad witness for any crime.

Yawn (#4,506)

@Rhubarb@twitter Interwebs sure are missing tone today. Isn't it time you went back to Gawker?

Rhubarb@twitter (#14,641)

@Yawn Can you rephrase that?

julebsorry (#5,783)

Rhubarb@twitter : I get what you're saying. You're saying if I make a few mistakes in my life, I gain the superpower of UNRAPEABILITY! Right?

Rhubarb@twitter (#14,641)

@julebsorry No it doesn't, and I have the sneaking suspicion that you know that. The credibility of a witness is always a valid issue in every legal matter, both criminal and civil. These leaks, if true, may validly be used to challenge the testimony of this woman.

It doesn't mean she wasn't raped. Then again, neither does the act of accusing someone of rape. More evidence is needed, whether from testimony or other evidence.

It doesn't mean that DSK can't be convicted. There seems to be a lot of physical and circumstantial evidence pointing to him. If he's guilty, he should rot in jail for the rest of his miserable life.

However, issues of witness credibility cannot be waived simply because of the nature of the crime.

The same rules that protect rich white assholes also protect everyone else.

Rhubarb@twitter (#14,641)

@Rhubarb@twitter "The same rules that protect rich white assholes also protect everyone else."

I should elaborate. Those rules *exist* to protect everyone else. In practice… well, we all know how that goes. But presumption of innocence, the right to confront your accuser and the burden of proof are good things.

julebsorry (#5,783)

@Rhubarb@twitter : Wow, fascinating! Please, tell us all more. I'm learning so much today!

Rhubarb@twitter (#14,641)


Picture yourself accused of a murder to which there was only one witness. That witness was a jailhouse snitch. Or perhaps someone with a history of making false claims to the police. Or maybe he just "embellished" a little on a previous claim that he saw a murder.

Does challenging the credibility of the sole witness make the murder victim "unmurderable"?

If you were on trial, you might want a jury to know about credibility evidence. If all you've got is dismissive snark and sarcasm, you're going to need another strategy.

Just because you can't picture yourself in the shoes of a defendant doesn't mean none of this matters.

Yawn (#4,506)

1L just ain't what it used to be.

This is the worst. The Times didn't learn anything from the Cleveland, Texas child rape journalism disaster? They should have some kind of sex crimes correspondent who knows how to report on these cases. The New York Times: SVU.

MichelleDean (#7,041)

@Lindsay Robertson I thought about suggesting this as a regular Awl feature to Choire since his is the only rape coverage my blood pressure can usually stand. But then that seemed like kind f a downer.

That said the founder of the American Propsect is giving the Times a run for it's bad-editing money this AM!

@MichelleDean This is great/terrible: "McCormick’s and Schmicks? Really? . . . A sophisticated diner confusing a chain restaurant with a decent New York eatery is almost capable of mistaking a housekeeper for a hooker."

NinetyNine (#98)

I don't understand conflating the Times reporting with the DA's office unwillingness to pursue the case. The story broke last night and as of now he's out of jail and given it's a holiday weekend Friday, unless some smoking gun appears, there's probably a good chance vacating the charges will happen today to try and bury the story. Given what happened with the Texas case, I suspect the bad editing Choire sees was actually sitting on more details to avoid claims of a smear. You can be as angry as you want at the DA's office, but it's not like the Times is complicit — and all of this came from the prosecutors office (who probably leaked to the Times in hopes they could be made to look better). DSK is about to be completely exonerated. I'm not saying I agree, but it's not bad reporting. Wait to fucking Levy starts crowing if you want to be pissed, because that asshole is never going to shut up now.

mushr00m (#5,504)

How outrageous for the NY Times not to publish the actual transcript of the phone recording, or quote bank investigators detailing the bank deposits so that we can assess everybody's credibility! I mean, when we all thought DSK was fo sho guilty, it was because we read her statement and saw her on TV, right? RIGHT?

MyName (#10,197)


I dunno if he's guilty or not, but the bigger issue is what can be proven. That's why sexual assault goes unreported so often: it's hard to prove what happened. And if you need to testify in the case, and people end up not believing you, that makes it even worse.

mushr00m (#5,504)

@MyName Well, that's why the DA is basically trying to drop this case. She's admitted to lying about a previous rape in order to get asylum, and apparently lying about her actions after the alleged rape here. It's a he said/she said situation, and the DA can't win with her.

My only comment here is to point out that people seem to be outraged that the NY Times published this article smearing her with innuendo, completely discounting the fact that the entire case against DSK is dependent on the credibility of the one witness. Who it turns out, is not actually very credible.

But, yeah, it could have happened anyway.

@mushr00m "She's admitted to lying about a previous rape in order to get asylum . . . "

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Please re-read the article. On the contrary. When interviewed by the police, she said that a previous rape (in Guinea) would be found to be recorded in her asylum application. Such a report was not found. The conclusion is that she lied to the police investigators about her asylum application, not that she lied IN her asylum application. There is no mention of a previous rape in the asylum application, neither true nor false.

It's actually an ENORMOUS difference, especially in terms of which thing is more gravely discrediting.

@Charismatic Megafauna Updated story is different: it's now asserted that she did admit lying on her asylum application AND (separately) lied about being raped in Guinea.

Rollo (#3,202)

Yup, all "professed Muslims" who have taken a drink must be con artists, just like those grifter Catholics who use the pill.

Rollo (#3,202)

Although it's cute to see the Post reprimanding someone for not following sharia law.

laurel (#4,035)

"The conversation was recorded."

Wait, what? Why? By whom?

@spiralbetty Phone calls made by or to inmates are very often recorded.

laurel (#4,035)

@SarahHeartburn Ooooh, right. 'Not necessarily a purposeful recording of her, but of the inmate.

OK, but still: How did the investigators know she'd called the inmate? When you call an inmate, there's not only a recording of the call, there's also a record of your name in an inter-agency database? Do investigators get some sort of alert when an accuser's name appears in the database?

@spiralbetty I have no idea, but considering that the inmate was not yet tried, I would bet that his contacts might be of interest to the police (especially in a drug trafficking case?)

TRVolk@twitter (#14,711)

@spiralbetty Yes, calls to and from inmates are recorded and database entries made that include phone numbers.

Annie K. (#3,563)

The story is maturing. NYT is updating with some actual evidence, written by someone who appears to want the story to make some kind of sense.

Annie K. (#3,563)

@Annie K. Just to clarify: the UPDATE was written by someone looking for sense, not the EVIDENCE. Get your subordinate clauses in the right place, girlie.

MaryHaines (#3,666)

The letter and updated story make the "credibility problems" a lot clearer. But I still want to know, what's the alternative version of events? If the evidence that there was actual sexual contact is still reliable, what's the new and more credible story about how that came to pass? Does it involve the five different phone companies?

zidaane (#373)

@MaryHaines If you had to think of a reason someone would go first to another room and then back to the room she was assaulted in what would you come up with? Taking as fact she was assaulted.

TRVolk@twitter (#14,711)

@MaryHaines The latest story is that she sold him a blowjob and then planned some extortion attempt.

David (#192)

How much is the monthly retainer for the PR firm D-SK (and his counsel) are apparently using, and what's the name of that firm? Advice to anyone that wants stories like this reported in the NYTimes: Hire them immediately!

abbyjean (#508)

pretty sure this means we should kill everyone. EVERYONE. gah.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

I'm curious how any of this changes anything in light of the facts outlined by the woman's lawyer here. But yeah, high profile NYC rape case, whaddya expect?

Anyway I'm pretty sure this whole thing is just a conspiracy by the Socialist Party to prove my girlfriend right. (Or maybe not, Aubry looked piiiiiiissed in the photo I saw today!)

zidaane (#373)

@stuffisthings The part where she lied in her Grand Jury testimony about her actions after the assault is a bit of a monkey wrench.
I think all the other stuff means nothing but, lying about your actions after the assault when there is evidence that refutes it destroys the DA's ability to do anything. There's really no one to be mad at (besides Kahn obviously). I can only assume she called someone when she went to the first room after the assault and got some really bad advice. There should be a hotline for post rape legal advice.

Recently in Chicago the FOP just got permission to allow an officer that shoots someone 24 hours to 'cool off' before they have to speak to an independent investigator on the logic they are traumatized by the event and need a sleep cycle to collect their thoughts.
I'm not sure why the same wouldn't apply to rape victims. This case and the other NYPD rape case suffered from the testimony of the witness just after a really traumatizing event. While I don't agree with the former the latter makes a lot of sense.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@zidaane Well yeah I totally understand the legal aspect, but the fact that no one is contesting (violent) sexual contact makes the tone of triumph among French people I know pretty gross…

milla6kate (#14,633)

shame on him.

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