[lbo-talk] Strauss Kahn

Dissenting Wren dissentingwren at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 24 11:30:47 PDT 2011

SA and Doug were right that I should have read the prosecutor's motion before getting into the particulars of this case.  So, now I have, and clearly I got some things wrong.  Amending those, what do we have? --An untrue story about rape in Africa, which was not made part of her asylum application, but which was part of a concocted story she had memorized in order to gain asylum. --A series of three inconsistent stories about what she did immediately after the incident with DSK.  One of them, belied by the time-swipe evidence, she told to the grand jury.

Against that, we have: --Consistency in her story of what happened during the incident itself. --DSK's semen on the floor (not around the room, as I earlier said - my mistake). --DSK's DNA on her outer pair of panties, and rips in both pairs of pantyhose she was wearing - consistent with her story that DSK grabbed her genitals. --Redness observed in the genital area when examined in hospital --Report of shoulder pain at the hospital

Then we have DSK's pattern of conduct: --Tristane Banon's case against him in France (she published her version of events in 2007, but did not name the man involved at the time) --DSK's long history of sexual harassment (see http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2011/05/16/l-etrange-omerta-des-medias-sur-le-cas-dsk_1522552_3232.html)

So, is it true that Nafissatou Diallo shot herself in the foot by making false statements to the prosecutors? Surely.  (Though the problem is not that she's a "proficient fabricator".  By all evidence, she's not very good at it.)  Is it also the case that DSK sexually assaulted her?  Oh hell yes.

Now, here's what creeps me out about this whole discussion: --Lots of talk about the things that make the complainant less than credible; none about similar features pertaining to DSK. --SA's willingness to proffer the alternative scenario that she's a prostitute, in the absence of any evidence. --Turning my reference to a real and difficult conflict between the rights of the accused and common tactics used by the defense in rape cases to "a 180-degree U-turn on the basic principles of criminal justice". --A certain delight in piling on Nafissatou Diallo for bringing this on herself after the fact, rather than considering how an asylum applicant's experiences with the U.S. justice system might conclude that the maxim "just tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth and the justice system will do right by you" might not always work. --No real attempt to contextualize this case either in terms of the difficulties of rape victims seeking justice or the vulnerable position of women who clean hotel rooms.

If anyone can teleport to a world where prosecutors eagerly pursue rapists independently of the status of women who have been raped, where defense attorneys don't attack rape victims on extraneous grounds, where juries don't lap it up when defense attorneys engage in those tactics, where deep pockets don't affect prosecutorial decisions, where immigrants can get a fair asylum hearing without embellishing the truth, where powerful men don't get away with crimes, please take me there at once.  Until then, I'll be creeped out when guys pronounce on how women who have been sexually assaulted should have conducted themselves afterwards.

From: SA <s11131978 at gmail.com> To: lbo-talk at lbo-talk.org Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 10:50 AM Subject: Re: [lbo-talk] Strauss Kahn

On 8/24/2011 11:12 AM, Dissenting Wren wrote:

> I wasn't talking specifically about the DSK case, but about the broader issues it raises, specifically in the matter of rape prosecution.

The question you raised, if I understood you correctly, was: If prosecutors have the ability to drop a case whenever they think they can't persuade a jury, doesn't that open up the possibility that women will get no justice if their situation doesn't conform to classic tropes about rape and femininity. And the answer, obviously, is yes - in that scenario that is a danger. But as I wrote, the NY DA's office says they have a record of winning convictions even where the complainant is a prostitute or drug addict. And in this case those issues never came up. So it's not clear how relevant the question is in this setting.

> But, SA (and Shane, too), do you seriously believe that DSK didn't sexually assault her?  Do you have a credible alternative theory about what happened there?

I'll answer your question, but it's interesting to me how many leftists are willing to do a 180-degree U-turn on the basic principles of criminal justice the minute the issue has to do with rape. If this was some street kid facing life in prison for a liquor store robbery, and the case was plagued with holes and unreliable witnesses, I would expect only a right-winger to greet the news that the case was dismissed with the complaint: "hey, he was no angel."

> She seduced him, blew him, and then scattered his semen all over the room to make the physical evidence conform to the rape story that she planned to tell?  That's your story and you're sticking to it?

I have no idea what happened obviously, but since you ask for a credible alternative theory, I would offer you these completely hypothetical choices: (1) a paid encounter; (2) a paid encounter gone wrong; (3) a misunderstanding over the exact terms of the encounter. I'll just point out that there have been many leaks from both the prosecution and the defense hinting that these scenarios were considered and might have been raised had things gone further.

On semen: the prosecutors' filing gave a detailed accounting of the physical evidence. Many material samples from all over the hotel suite, the bathroom and the hallway were tested for DNA, but semen was only found on only one spot, a single carpet stain in the room. His DNA was not found under her fingernails, not was her DNA found under his fingernails. (This is apparently a standard test to indicate whether there was a struggle.)

> This "proficient fabricator" stuff could come straight from DSK's attorneys' press releases.

You aren't reading the posts in this thread very carefully. No - it comes from the prosecutors' filing. Please read it if you're going to comment: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/238252/motion-to-dismiss-dominique-strauss-kahn-case.pdf

>  (Oops - they don't issue press releases.  They have the Grey Lady to do that work for them.)  What we have here, as far as I can tell, is someone whose experience with the US legal system has been that you had better make your story conform to a standard script if you want to be believed (cp. the asylum application).

Again, the asylum application turns out to have nothing to do with it. Read the document! Please!

>    The inconsistencies in her stories have to do with trying to get the script right.

How do you know that? Please read the prosecutor's motion before you spout off.

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