Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s Independence Day
“Enjoy your freedom on Independence Day,” said the deliveryman who brought the balloons, sender anonymous, to Dominique Strauss-Kahn on his first day home free from luxury-suite-arrest. The ballons were all red, white, and blue, except for one of them. That one was shaped like the Statue of Liberty.
The Statue of Liberty, the real one, had been a gift from France, of course, the country Strauss-Kahn was all set to return to back on May 14, when police boarded his plane at JFK to arrest him. He had only been asking for his cell phone, which he’d forgotten at the hotel, but the police didn’t bring him his cell phone. They brought allegations, via one of the hotel’s housekeepers, that he had been the perpetrator of a rape.
Suddenly, not-becoming-the-president-of-France was the least of his worries, but now, after his release yesterday without bail due to credibility concerns about his accuser, Strauss-Kahn may be free to worry about the French presidency once again.
If he does, it will be a worry unlike the worry from before. Conspiracy-theorists are already on the case, with speculation that maybe the accuser and her allegations were nothing more than elaborate instruments fashioned by his political opposition.
To some, her story is just that implausible, now that it’s been reported in the New York Times that the 32-year-old housekeeper has lied about sexual assault in the past; in 2004 when she was applying for political asylum from Guinea, she falsely claimed to have been gang-raped, because she thought it would help her cause.
That’s not the only thing she lied about. For tax purposes, she lied about her income and claimed another woman’s child as her own. Much closer to the case at hand is that she lied about her actions immediately after the attack–she in fact went back to cleaning rooms rather than reporting the incident–and is known now to have discussed, on the phone with a man in prison, the benefits that could accrue from reporting the incident. It’s also now being reported, by the New York Post, that she allegedly has worked as a prostitute. Then there’s the money that was deposited in her bank account.
How much money and who the depositor is, we don’t know. We know that the man’s been arrested for marijuana, but that could mean nothing. What this all means for the case, aside from Strauss-Kahn’s bail-free release, is that it might be thrown out altogether. That’s what the defense is now going for, and there’s a good chance they’ll get it.
The courts need Strauss-Kahn back for his next hearing on July 18, so although he’s not yet free to move about the world, he’s free to move about the country, and to live at his own home. He’d been paying about a quarter-million a month to stay in his TriBeCa suite with all its court-ordered security measures. It’s true that you can’t buy justice, not on a case this high-profile, but you can sure buy comfort as justice is sought.
You can also subsidize justice, even if it won’t be purchased outright. That’s what Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers appear to have done through discovery. Whether Strauss-Kahn in fact chased her around the room, tried to pull down her pantyhose, and forced her to perform oral sex is probably something we’ll never know for sure. That’s why credibility counts for so much in these cases. But the accuser’s isn’t the only credibility we should be wary of. There’s still strong seminal evidence that sex occurred, along with the ripped stockings, the torn ligament, the bruised genitals.
This may not be enough to convict Strauss-Kahn of rape or even send him to trial. They may end up returning his passport along with his cell phone and letting him re-book his flight for Europe, whereupon he can stand trial in the court of French politics and marital forgiveness.
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