I was tempted to lead with the Post’s bombshell about her supposedly doing a little, ahem, business on the side with some of the hotel’s guests — allegedly with the knowledge of her union(!) — but that leak came from a “source close to the defense investigation.” Could be a lie designed to drum up public pressure on the prosecution to drop the charges.
What’s the motive for this, though?
Twenty-eight hours after a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York said she was sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, she spoke by phone to a boyfriend in an immigration jail in Arizona.
Investigators with the Manhattan district attorney’s office learned the call had been recorded and had it translated from a “unique dialect of Fulani,” a language from the woman’s native country, Guinea, according to a well-placed law enforcement official.
When the conversation was translated — a job completed only this Wednesday — investigators were alarmed: “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’” the official said…
Little by little, her credibility as a witness crumbled — she had lied about her immigration, about being gang raped in Guinea, about her experiences in her homeland and about her finances, according to two law enforcement officials. She had been linked to people suspected of crimes. She changed her account of what she did immediately after the encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn. Sit-downs with prosecutors became tense, even angry. Initially composed, she later collapsed in tears and got down on the floor during questioning. She became unavailable to investigators from the district attorney’s office for days at a time.
Follow the link and read about her meeting with the DA’s office on Tuesday, when they reduced her own lawyer to speechlessness by disclosing the bank records they’d discovered proving that her income was way north of what she was earning at the Hotel Sofitel. I said yesterday that the earlier NYT story describing her phone call with the boyfriend after the incident with DSK didn’t prove much because it didn’t claim that she was the one talking about squeezing him for money. Today’s story does suggest that — with a law-enforcement source as the basis, no less. Says defense lawyer Jeralyn Merritt, “This case is toast.”
Read the Post story in full, too. The union categorically denies placing her at the Sofitel and tracking her tips, and her lawyer says hotel surveillance footage allegedly shows Strauss-Kahn looking “nervous” after the incident with “toothpaste smeared outside of his mouth.” The Daily Beast also follows up by debunking the curious coincidence by which the accuser reportedly asked to be assigned to DSK’s floor of the hotel before he checked in. Turns out she did that a month before the incident, after a colleague went on leave; it was a perfectly routine thing, and there’s no evidence that she ever cleaned a room at the Sofitel that Strauss-Kahn had stayed in before. All of which is to say, there are still a few elements of this case that contradict the “set up” theory. Anyone think they’re enough to get to “beyond a reasonable doubt” given what the accuser’s in for on the stand?
Merritt predicts that DSK will “walk free and be hailed in France as a victim of an unfair American justice system that relies on outrageous perp walks and the sensationalized saturation of public opinion by American media.” Undoubtedly true, but I wonder if that alone will be enough to restore his political viability. If only there were a celebrity French intellectual willing to go to bat for him in the media. Oh wait — here’s one now. Exit question: Will no one stand up for the honor of this, um, “rutting chimpanzee”?