The Dominique Strauss-Kahn Circus Rolls into Town

Philip Sherwell, Telegraph (London), July 31, 2011

The cameras and microphones were there for the first public appearance of Nafissatou Diallo, the chambermaid who was the previously anonymous accuser of one of the world’s most powerful men.

It was a far cry from the luxurious hotel suite in midtown Manhattan where Miss Diallo, 32, a Guinean immigrant, alleges that she was violently sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then the head of the International Monetary Fund and frontrunner for the French presidency who is commonly known by his initials DSK.

But just as significant as the location was the striking array of black leaders–pastors, lawyers, politicians and activists, including a prominent figure in the New Black Panther Party–who flanked her on stage as she made her own powerful statement: “What happened to me, I don’t want that to happen to any other woman.”

As if the DSK affair was not already controversial enough, Miss Diallo’s supporters threw explosive accusations about race and politics into the highly-charged mix–so much so that some are now beginning to doubt whether justice will ever be done in a case that is being ruthlessly conducted in the noisy court of public opinion rather than the calm of a legal chamber.

Miss Diallo’s backers were taking aim as much at Cyrus Vance Jnr, the Manhattan district attorney who was widely believed to be on the verge of dropping the case after his investigators uncovered multiple lies by Miss Diallo, as she was at her alleged attacker.

Her combative lawyer, Ken Thompson, is pursuing a high-risk scorched earth strategy, arguing not only that she suffered a brutal sexual assault but that she is now the victim of a racial conspiracy to abandon the prosecution.

He took his client–a Muslim who lives in the Bronx–to his church, the Christian Cultural Centre, in eastern Brooklyn, a completely different part of New York, to make that case.

Noel Leader, a former police sergeant who heads a group called 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, accused Mr Vance of “throwing this victim of sexual abuse under a bus” and “re-victimising our sister”.

He then initiated an exchange with other Diallo supporters that sounded like the kind of exchange that takes place during worship in many echoed preacher-congregation inter-actions in many black churches.

“We ask, does race play a role?” his voice rang out–eliciting an affirmative chorus of “Uh-huh” from the crowd. “Does her gender play a role?” “Uh-huh,” came the response. “Is this a class issue?” “Uh-huh!”

Mr Leader is among those now arguing that black communities should withdraw political support from Mr Vance, the scion of a prominent Democratic family whose position is an elected one.

The church’s high-profile pastor, Rev AR Bernard, was less blunt but no less clear when asked if they were sending a message to the district attorney. “I think, and hope, that he’s intelligent enough to understand what has been implied here,” he said.

The gathering harked back to the 1980s when black leaders, most notably Rev Al Sharpton, sought to whip up community outrage to impose political pressure on prosecutors in cases they believed had racial undertones.

Indeed, Mr Sharpton was the model for the character of Rev Reginald Bacon in The Bonfire of the Vanities, the blockbuster Tom Wolfe novel that detailed how race, politics and class intertwined with the legal system of the New York of that era.

As the pressure intensified last week, Mr Thompson pursued two almost unprecedented tactics. He encouraged the key witness in a sex crimes case to abandon her anonymity and go public with her account of what happened before the prosecution had even decided whether to pursue the case.

And he also announced that she would be bringing a civil damages case, in which the burden of proof is lower than in a criminal one, against Mr Strauss-Kahn “very soon”.

Not only do civil proceedings normally follow criminal trials, but Mr Thompson has been fending off damaging claims that Miss Diallo has long planned to cash in on the case.

Last week, he appeared to establish that a taped telephone conversation between her and a man in prison–variously described as a fiancé, boyfriend or friend–did not after all involve her raising the potential financial benefit of pursuing her case.

What is not in dispute, thanks to DNA evidence, is that there was a sexual encounter between Mr Strauss-Kahn and Miss Diallo. The defence has not been drawn on its account of what happened, but has made clear that if required it will portray the events as consensual.

Funded by the fortune of his third wife, Anne Sinclair, an art heiress and former French television presenter who is standing by her man despite repeated revelations about his philandering, Mr Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers hired two major private detective agencies to investigate the maid’s background.

That tactic in turn imposed unusually strong pressure on Mr Vance’s office to conduct enquiries that established that Miss Diallo, who is illiterate, had lied about an alleged gang rape in Guinea on her asylum application and falsified tax returns.

“New York prosecutors are not looking to disbelieve the victim of an alleged sexual attack, far from it,” said David Feige, a former Bronx public defender who is now a Los Angeles-based legal drama writer working on the television adaptation of The Firm, the John Grisham thriller.

“The only thing that is any way true about the allegations that race, gender and class played a role in this case is, possibly, class. What is true is that Strauss-Kahn can afford the best defence thanks to his wife’s wealth and that means they have been able to force the prosecution to look at this accuser much more closely than normally.”

The case has witnessed a dramatic ebb and flow in the perceptions of the two protagonists since their brief encounter in the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan in mid-May.

Indeed, even as Miss Diallo and her supporters sought to bolster her reputation, tarnished at its low point by allegations in a New York tabloid that she had worked as a prostitute, Mr Strauss-Kahn has also faced a series of lurid accusations in France.

The latest to come forward is a legal consultant who said she had an affair with him in 1997 when she was 23 and he was a married 47-year-old. She described him as a “serial manipulator of women” with a “huge sexual appetite”.

Tristine Banon, a 32-year-old writer, has alleged that Mr Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her eight years ago. Fuelling the circus-like atmosphere, her mother, Anne Mansouret, has now claimed that she had earlier had an affair with her fellow Socialist party politician.

The latest twists to the case have been greeted with bemusement in France where the American legal system is already viewed with a mixture of confusion and contempt.

The febrile French political atmosphere as the next election approaches has only fuelled that mood. Mr Strauss-Kahn’s Socialist allies have sought to dismiss the case in New York as a sideshow, while media supporters of President Nicolas Sarkozy have given greater prominence to the allegations.

In a case that is already being played out very publicly in the court of public opinion, Mr Vance’s office added to the suspense last week.

Prosecutors said they needed more time for their investigations, obtaining another adjournment of a hearing that was first scheduled for July 18 and then again for tomorrow. It is now scheduled for Aug 23.

“We understand the district attorney is continuing to investigate,” Mr Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman said in a statement.

“We are confident that when the investigation is completed, Mr Vance will move to dismiss all charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn.”

Mr Brafman was in a less lawyerly mood when asked by The Sunday Telegraph about how Mr Thompson disparaged him at the Brooklyn church. “I will not dignify Thompson’s stupid, unprofessional comments with a comment,” he said.

And he was equally unimpressed by the decision to push Miss Diallo before the cameras. The process was an “unseemly circus”, he remarked.

NafissatouDiallo.jpg

Nafissatou Diallo

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  • Sissy White

    …so what else is new in the freak show that is New York?

    Poetic justice, the international socialist staying at a $1,000 + a day suite is arrested for the rape of a hotel maid!

    Well in the “rape” at least, he kept with his proletarian origins.

  • E Pluribus Pluribus

    Black leaders in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case mirror black leaders of the Duke Lacrosse rape hoax of 2006. Here’ a way to briefly revisit that wonderful spectacle, Stuart Taylor, contributing editor to Newsweek and a columnist for National Journal. In his BookTV.org presentation on Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Case, Taylor describes how local black leaders comported themselves:

    “The local NAACP and other local black leaders — enough to be a critical mass — basically crusaded to attack the lacrosse players. They joined the mob. They misrepresented the truth regularly, repeatedly, and grossly. They supported the rogue prosecutor long after he had been proven a rogue prosecutor. They threw away the opportunity to build that cross-racial coalition and they threw away whatever shreds were left of their own credibility.” (Sept. 11, 2007)

    You can watch Taylor in the video linked below. Taylor reviews the performance of the NAACP 3/4’s into the presentation. Also illuminating: Taylor’s analysis of the perfectly predictable performance of the New York Times, the Duke faculty and the Duke administration [This is not to pick on Duke University; most elite American universities’ faculties and administrations would have behaved similarly.]

    [Note to Viewer: There is a 4-minute introduction by Roger Pilan of the Cato Institute followed by Taylor’s 31-minute address. Victoria Toensing then comments for some fifteen minutes. Then there are fifteen minute of Q & A. Taylor is the attraction. He’s well-prepared. Don’t bother with the Toensing segment.]

    UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case

    by Stuart Taylor, Jr. and K. C. Johnson (BookTV.org video presentation, September 11, 2007)

    [At the link click on “Watch” in the upper right corner]

    http://tinyurl.com/33dflgb

  • Anonymous

    They are trying to say the defense is high powered because of his wealth, but that is not what uncovered the problems with the case. It was the prosecutors office that uncovered the lies and they had to disclose those lies to the defense as a matter of procedure.

  • Anonymous

    “former police sergeant who heads a group called 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care”

    The number of black associations seems to be limitless.

    Had the races been reversed, ie a wealthy black guy being charged by a white woman, the black organizations would be screaming about false charges to bring down a black guy.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know what happened here. But the fact that she lied about taxes or aslylum does not necessarily mean she lied about rape.

    But she allegedly called some of her associates in prison and talked about Strauss-Kahn as having lots of money and telling the inmate “dont worry I know what I am doing.” That, combined with the other lies, does hurt her credibility.

  • olewhitelady

    What doesn’t she want to happen to other women–that they get caught in a lie?

    Blacks do more to damage their image by these kinds of stupid actions than anything else they do. Even a white five-year-old wouldn’t believe this ridiculous woman, and yet this bunch is claiming they do!

  • sbuffalonative

    “What happened to me, I don’t want that to happen to any other woman.”

    For some reason, this reminded me of the comment, ‘My name is Tawana Brawley and I am not a liar’.

    There’s a new book out written by a white woman called, “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance–A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power “, which purports to document a vast numbers of white on black rapes from the past to now.

    http://tinyurl.com/43mv42j

    I have no comment on the book. I’m just putting it out there for those who might be interested in the subject.

  • Anonymous

    the idea that anyone would want to sexually assault a woman with her looks is preposterous.

  • Chicagoan

    Her lawyer had to step up the game due to shifting circumstances. That large payday they were banking on can’t be allowed to slip away. Perhaps they’ll also use her to fundraise for the cause.

  • Jean

    I have read on this website numerous times that white men don’t rape black women, ever. Therefore, I cannot entertain the idea that a wealthy, powerful white man (known for lasciviousness and womanizing) accustomed to getting what he wants, would ever take advantage of or impose himself upon a black cleaning woman. It simply doesn’t add up…

  • Anonymous

    Does not the investigating police department have a responsibility to uncover not merely what might buttress

    prosecution but also what might impede or negate prosecution?

    Perhaps the pressures at work largely within the legal profession, incline toward a kind of full-employment policy

    for lawyers? Want a detailed investigation conducted that

    reveals successful prosecution to be impossibe? Well, then, get charges filed and have a defense attorney at $250 an hour bring out “the rest of the story” Most criminals can have some sense of breathing easy in our legal system because the corruption and perversity of the system itself surely helps them “feel at home” within it.

  • HH

    Good heavens, is there ANY actor in this whole sordid drama that is not of dubious or even worse character? Every which way one looks at this case it stinks on ice!

  • dhb

    The only thing DSK should be found guilty of is poor taste in women

  • Jack

    “I don’t know what happened here. But the fact that she lied about taxes or aslylum does not necessarily mean she lied about rape.”

    People that habitually lie to steal through fraud are untrustworthy.

    Her word is worthless.

    We all know what really happened. DSK wanted oral sex while on his trip and the maid wanted to make an extra buck and offered, then performed the “service.”

    She then knew she had some evidence to shake down a wealthy man.

  • Sardonicus

    I actually saw one mainstream reporter reduced to tears by this woman’s testimony–such is the credulity of the brain-washed! Besides possibly being a pathological liar, the woman can’t even keep her story straight. My bet is that Strauss-Kahn walks on this one.

  • Question Diversity

    Think Machiavellian here for a minute — Whatever truths, falsehoods or in-between there is to her accusations and to this whole scandal or non-scandal, let’s hope it drags on past the next French elections. I fear that if the French get it in their heads that he didn’t do it and the Obama White House set him up in order to get him out at IMF and install a Chicago flunky in his place (the new IMF head has links to Obama and Chicago), then DSK is the next French president, for sure, and that leaves poor Marine Le Pen twisting in the wind.

  • Anonymous

    Ref. Post #03

    But why did it require the Prosecutor’s Office to find out that

    the full range of relevant facts called into question whether any crime could be proven? It is not the Prosecutor’s Office that is charged with punishing crime. It is the Prosecutor’s Office that is to be able to prove that a crime was committed. It is a public responsibility that Prosecutor resources (see below re $$$ per minute to sustain the staff ) be devoted to cases that have a resonable likelihood of successful prosecution. Just approach the matter from a fact-laden, dog-bites-man, prosaic issue of tax money being thrown around. Given that it takes about $40 a MINUTE to sustain a member of the Prosecutor’s Office in his/her performance of duties, given that it takes about $20 a MINUTE to sustain a NYCPD detective in his/her performance of duties—how much time and money has to be piled up before it is discovered that the police did not have (in the full range of relevant facts and of witness credibility) a threshold of likelihood for successful prosecution that justified all this devotion of public resources??. No Prosecutor’s office in a setting like NYC can bring to trial more than a portion of the cases referred to it. No detective section of a PD like that of NYC can devote lots of resources to crimes that do not show step-by-step a reasonable likelihood of

    being able to demonstrate in court that a crime took place. If these prosaic issues were better illuminated, we come to the focus upon Cyrus Vance, Jr. as to whether the promise of favorable limelight for his Office was the main oar in the water at the rush to file charges.

  • Anonymous

    “What is not in dispute, thanks to DNA evidence, is that there was a sexual encounter between Mr Strauss-Kahn and Miss Diallo.”

    Well, we know something happened.

    I love it, Cyrus Vance 3rd generation ultra leftist anti White pro affirmative action DA attacked by the very people who have kept him and the other White traitors in power since the Truman administration.

  • Anonymous

    The DNA “found” on her blouse was more than likely DNA drift from DSK’s previous three sexual encounters in that room. She was in that room numerous times, before and after DKS checking out. The sticky point for this black woman is the timeline, all documented by her key card. From the time she entered the room 12:06 to when DSK checked out 12:28, leaving only 22 minutes. Plus he called his daughter in that time frame. So that leaves about 9 minutes to brutally attack her, chased her down and dragged her around, and forced to perform whatever. But she is a big woman, 5’10”, him about 5’7”. From all this, there are absolutely no scratches on him! Go figure. What a waste of tax money. This country is definitely on its way down with this and all the other nonsense thrown in. But another puzzling question, how did this “illiterate” migrant come up with such an exhortation idea and then so quickly able to find all these attorneys? Something is definitely amiss.

  • ATBOTL

    DSK is an anti-white fanatic limousine leftist who has dedicated his life to flooding France with non-white immigrants and who has raped or attempted to rape numerous white French women. He deserves zero sympathy from us and we should all be hoping he gets sentenced to life in an 80% black NY state prison where he can enjoy the diversity he wants to foist on us.

  • ghw

    Why are so many so eager to attack the woman here? Just because she is black? In this particular case, I am somewhat on her side… although not too strongly. She may be unsavory, I do not know. But she could be entirely sincere. I tend to believe her.

    However, the other unsavory character involved, backed up and protected by billions of his wife’s money and by enormous political clout, draws absolutely NO sympathy from me at all. It is past time his shennanigans finally caught up with him. I see it as a providential blessing blessing for France that he seems to have been eliminated from the French presidency.

    Of all the posts above, ATBOTL hits it on the mark exactly.

  • Michael C. Scott

    Short of a major war between Iran and Pakistan or a chainsaw fight between Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, it would be hard to come up with a fictional story who’s principal characters are less sympathetic figures than DSK or Diallo.

    While I do not believe a word of Diallo’s accusation, DSK is an utter sleaze. I hope he is acquitted, because Diallo’s history of lying is nearly as good as that other infamous rape-hoaxer, Crystal Magnum, but I am delighted DSK is being made to squirm. I hope his five-star restaurant meals are giving him lots of indigestion.