DSK Maid Misquoted

A lawyer for the hotel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in May said Wednesday that taped conversations, two of them made a day after the encounter, prove that his client had no intention of exploiting the charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn to make money.

The housekeeper, meanwhile, plans to make her first public appearance on Thursday, at a noon rally at a Brooklyn church. The woman, Nafissatou Diallo, had declined to reveal her identity until this week. But she gave two interviews with news organizations that were released in recent days, and lawyers not involved in the case suggested that she was speaking out because she and her legal advisers were trying to put pressure on prosecutors to take the case to trial.

Full story in today’s Times here.

We’re already on record, here and here, saying Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance is showing lamentably weak knees on this prosecution, pulling the plug because he believes Ms. Diallo would make a lousy trial witness since, among other things, he obtained recordings of Ms. Diallo discussing a likely payday with a jailed friend.

But now that Ms. Diallo’s lawyer (ex-Louima prosecutor Kenneth P. Thompson) has heard those same audio tapes, there seems to be some doubt whether Ms. Diallo even discussed a civil suit with her friend.

From my perspective, if she did or if she didn’t, DA Vance should not dump the case for that reason only.

Why? Let’s assume for argument’s sake the Manhattan DA’s Office is correct. Let’s assume that the Ms. Diallo, within days of being assaulted by DSK had a secretly-recorded telephone conversation with a friend in which she plainly stated that she wanted to take as much money from DSK as she could possibly get.

So what?

Wouldn’t it make sense for someone in Ms. Diallo’s position to seek to punish her attacker? In our modern age, isn’t the phrase “Sue the bastards!” the first to the lips of every (American) man, woman, and child from age four confronted with even the smallest of life’s discomforts, particularly where someone to blame stands close by?

For Ms. Diallo, as a poor black immigrant unable to hunt down and castrate her attacker, her options for payback were limited. One, she could hope the DA’s office would support her and win a conviction that would send DSK to jail for a long time. And, two, she could bring a civil claim for damages.

Option one seems somewhat unlikely, not to mention vaguely quaint, at this juncture. So its seems to suggest laudable foresight on Ms. Diallo’s part that she had a contingency plan.

When DSK was arrested, there was some jingoistic pieces in the press favorably comparing the criminal justice system of the United States with that of France. No longer. One gets the sense the Cy Vance would rather share a bottle of Bordeaux with DSK rather than prosecute him. I never realized One Hogan Place was on the Seine.

At the root of this whole ugly mess is the very real, very scary fact that Cy Vance’s decision to let Ms. Diallo twist in the wind for the stupidest of reasons will turn off other victims of rape or sexual attack from coming forward with their allegations — at least when attacked by rich and powerful Frenchmen protected by rich and powerful Americans.


Leave a Reply

Warning: Use of undefined constant rightbar - assumed 'rightbar' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/reulan5/public_html/wp-content/themes/repousse/sidebar.php on line 2

Available 24/7


26 Court Street, Suite 1406
Brooklyn, New York 11242