DSK Maid Speaks

“Hello? Housekeeping.”

The maid hovered in the suite’s large living room, just inside the entrance. The 32-year-old Guinean, an employee of the Sofitel hotel, had been told by a room-service waiter that room 2806 was now free for cleaning, “Hello? Housekeeping,” the maid called out again. No reply. The door to the bedroom, to her left, was open, and she could see part of the bed. She glanced around the living room for luggage, saw none. “Hello? Housekeeping.” Then a naked man with white hair suddenly appeared, as if out of nowhere.

From today’s exclusive story in Newsweek.

Following the remarkable decision by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance to shit on his own star witness in the case that was supposed to make him, that was supposed to prove he had the right stuff to be DA, to show that he wasn’t just a lesser son of a greater father, to demonstrate that his election wasn’t merely neo-nepotism or favoritism or any -ism, and to set finally to rest any talk that he was just some West Coast lightweight in horn rims who knew nothing about the rough-and-tumble world of big city prosecution, the witness herself had to speak out publicly in her own defense today in Newsweek.

Well, someone has to stand up for rape victims if DA Vance won’t — might as well be the rape victims themselves.

Understand what I’m saying. I’m not saying “the maid” (whom we now can name Nafissatou Diallo) is telling the truth about being raped. I can’t possibly know that.

What I am saying, as I’ve said before, is that her evidence was good enough for Vance to seek to indict Strauss-Kahn and that none of the subsequent disclosures about her sketchy background directly affect that evidence.

Rather, it seems to me that once the Manhattan DA learned his witness was not wholly pristine, he feared embarrassment at trial and pulled the plug on the prosecution. It was, in other words, a political decision rather than a legal one.

District Attorneys are political creatures. They are elected, and therefore they are entitled to make political decisions. But there is a difference between making a political decision affecting public policy and making a political decision simply to save your own ass. Vance is trying to save his own ass by distancing himself from Ms. Diallo — not because the DA’s office has proof she lied about being raped, but because the DA himself knows so little about criminal prosecution that he doesn’t understand that a complainant, like any human being, can tell lies without being a liar.

This chicken-shit sort of thing, this epicene fear, is a weakness in Vance’s character that shows his unsuitability for the job and stands in contradistinction to the personal courage of his predecessor, Robert Morgenthau. The latter, despite his perceived arrogance, was laudably immune to public opinion whereas Vance is positively terrified of it.

This entire DSK episode underscores the fact, borne out to me in conversations with associates within the office, that the Manhattan DA’s office under Cy Vance is a morass.


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