[lbo-talk] Strauss Kahn

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Wed Aug 24 06:52:51 PDT 2011

By the way, it turns out that she didn't invent the tale of the gang rape for her asylum application, which would have been entirely understandable, if not legal. She just made it up for the prosecutors.

Also, she told three completely different versions of her actions following the encounter with DSK. When presented with evidence (the key swipe records) showing that the second was impossible, she denied having said it.


> In virtually every substantive interview with prosecutors, despite entreaties to simply be truthful, she has not been truthful, on matters great and small, many pertaining to her background and some relating to the circumstances of the incident itself. Over the course of two interviews, for example, the complainant gave a vivid, highly-detailed, and convincing account of having been raped in her native country, which she now admits is entirely false. She also gave prosecutors and the grand jury accounts of her actions immediately after the encounter with the defendant that she now admits are false. This longstanding pattern of untruthfulness predates the complainant's contact with this Office. Our investigation revealed that the complainant has made numerous prior false statements, including ones contained in government filings, some of which were made under oath or penalty of perjury. All of these falsehoods would, of course, need to be disclosed to a jury at trial, and their cumulative effect would be devastating.
> Along with the substantial power conferred upon prosecutors come unique responsibilities. Rather than serving only as a zealous advocate on behalf of a client, prosecutors have a broader set of obligations to the community, the victim, and the defendant:
> The [prosecutor] is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.
> New York's rules of professional conduct, which parallel the ethics rules in virtually all jurisdictions, and the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Standards both rest on the same belief that the prosecutor's duty is to seek justice, not simply to win cases.

It's sad that a rich and powerful defendant probably forced the prosecutors to live up to the standard, which they routinely ignore for more mundane sorts. But would you really want to ignore the standard because DSK is a rich prick?

> In response to questioning by prosecutors on May 16, 2011, the complainant volunteered that she had previously been gang raped by soldiers who had invaded her home in Guinea. In an interview held on May 30, 2011, she offered precise and powerful details about the number and nature of her attackers and the presence of her 2-year-old daughter at the assault scene, who, she said, was pulled from her arms and thrown to the ground. During both interviews, she identified certain visible scars on her person, which she claimed were sustained during the attack. On both occasions, the complainant recounted the rape with great emotion and conviction: she cried, spoke hesitatingly, and appeared understandably distraught, and during the first interview, even laid her head face down on her arms on a table in front of her.
> In subsequent interviews conducted on June 8,2011, and June 9, 2011, the complainant admitted to prosecutors that she had entirely fabricated this attack. When asked to explain why, she initially stated that she had lied about the gang rape because she had included it in her application for asylum, and she was afraid to vary from her application statement; she also stated that at the time she told prosecutors this account, she was not under oath. When confronted with the fact that her written asylum application statement made no mention of the gang rape, she stated that she had fabricated the gang rape, as well as other details of her life in Guinea, in collaboration with an unnamed male with whom she consulted as she was preparing to seek asylum. She told prosecutors this man had given her a cassette tape that included an account of a fictional rape, which she had memorized. Ultimately, she told prosecutors she decided not to reference the rape in her written application.
> It is clear that, in a case where a complainant is accusing a defendant of a sexual assault, the fact that she has given a prior false account of a different sexual assault is highly relevant. That it was told to prosecutors as an intentional falsehood, and done in a completely persuasive manner -identical to the manner in which she recounted the encounter with the defendant -is also highly significant. But most significant is her ability to recount that fiction as fact with complete conviction.
> Prosecutors often argue to a jury that a witness' demeanor is a key factor in assessing credibility, and a judge gives jurors the same instruction as a matter of law. In this case, proof of the elements of forcible compulsion and lack of consent rest on a sole witness, the complainant. That she has previously persuaded seasoned prosecutors and investigators that she was the victim of another serious and violent - but false - sexual assault, with the same demeanor that she would likely exhibit at trial, is fatal. Knowing that her compelling manner cannot serve as a reliable measure of truthfulness, coupled with the number of falsehoods uncovered in our interviews with her, compel our conclusion that we are no longer convinced of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and cannot ask a jury to convict based on the complainant's testimony.

If only they were that fastidious in prosecuting some drug dealing kid from the projects.


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