Credibility Issues?

Strauss-Kahn Faces Test in Hearing

The New York Times is reporting on the possibility that the DSK case may be going down in flames. It seems that credibility of the victim has come into question – credibility on issues that have nothing to with the victim’s allegations against DSK. It seems that on the date of the incident, the NYPD was so convinced that she was telling the truth that they raced to the airport to arrest DSK moments before his flight left for France. Trust me when I tell you that the NYPD conferred with District Attorneys office prior to arresting DSK and that the District Attorney’s office gave their approval. Also trust me when I tell you that if the authorities had any evidence of criminal activity against the victim she would have been arrested by now.
 
I can only conclude that lying on an application for asylum, associating with a man charged with possessing marijuana, and having a conversation about benefiting from the charges against DSK are solid proof for the District Attorney’s office that she must be lying about being sexually assaulted by DSK. It’s the same kind of logic that says that prostitutes can’t be the victims of rape. Mind you that this victim has no criminal record and that just a few weeks ago she was portrayed as a saintly victim. 
 
Maybe protocol in the District Attorney’s office has changed since I retired, but I thought it was the job of the defense attorneys, not prosecutors, to discredit witnesses against their clients. This isn’t the first time that the District Attorney’s office or the police had a case in which the victim or a witness had a questionable past. I’ve worked many a case in which the victim had a criminal record, yet the cases were vigorously investigated by the police and aggressively prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office. If I didn’t know better, which maybe I don’t, it appears as if the District  Attorney’s office is intentionally attempting to derail its own case. I can only wonder as to the reasons why.
 
Once again our judicial system is making a statement that a woman who is a victim of a sexual assault is held to a higher and sometimes very different standard than victims of other crimes. I can think of no other crime where a victim’s allegations are met with skepticism, strictly scrutinized, and at times, not taken seriously. Did  Bernie Madoff”s victims have their past scrutinized or their credibility questioned? Yet society demands that women who are victims of sexual assault be saintly virgins with not so much as an outstanding parking ticket.

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5 responses to “Credibility Issues?

  1. Wow Eddie, I am going to disagree with you again, yet we agree on so much. First, we need to let more facts come out than one article by the NY Times. Second, the District Attorney’s office has an obligation to try and make sure the truth comes out, and sometimes that means a victim is not a true victim. More importantly the principle that all people are innocent until PROVEN guilty must and should apply in this case. The allegations about the victim are very troubling and damaging. She is claiming rape or attempted rape in the case against DSK, yet she lied about it once before on official documents. This is very damaging to the case. The very next day, after she made the allegations against DSK, she went to jail to visit a inmate and on a taped phone conversation said that this was a good opportunity for her to make much money (something like this – again we have to wait until the true facts come out). This is very damaging also. As does the fact that she has hundreds of thousand of dollars in the bank of most likely criminal money from the person she was visiting in jail. There is also an issue of cell phones in her name. I get your point about how we look at victims sometimes. Also, we must take into consideration that DSK’s lawyers have never said that nothing happened, rather they have said it was consensual. Had he said nothing happened or truly tried to flee the country, he called the hotel to say I left my phone behind and am at the airport. Does not sound like someone who wants to get on a plane and never be seen again. He certainly could have waited until he arrived in France (or Germany, I believe he was going) and then call or call from the plane itself. He wasn’t going back for the phone either way. DSK does have a reputation with the ladies, but should that come into this case as we are establishing Probably Cause – he has no prior criminal charges… I think the DA will regret jumping to conclusions and holding a press conference right away, it is his first big case since taking over from Morgie. There are many false allegations made against men in circumstances like this. DNA is releasing falsely imprisoned men all the time, and how do you give them their lives and time back? I fight for women’s rights all the time, but we must always balance that arresting someone is a very serious thing. Lives are changed forever – DSK would have been the next President of France, and still might. The questions that needs to be asked now, is what charges are the DA looking at, and why wasn’t he released and all charges dropped? I think that is what is going to happen.

    • I agree with you that we will need to wait for more facts to come out. And yes, the DA’s office is obligated to make sure that the victim is telling the truth. But it is certainly not their obligation to publicly smear the victim with things that aren’t really related to the case and to taint the pool of possible jurors. If her past is relevant to the case, let a judge decide that and then let a jury hear it and come to their own conclusions.

      Does the fact that she may have lied on her application for asylum mean that she must necessarily lie about everything else? And have you seen the country where she is from? Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t ever make false statements to get yourself and your child out of a place where your ethnic group is persecuted, you’re forced into marriage and many other things just because you’re a woman, and you have no economic future at all?

      The other things just don’t make sense. On one hand, she’s supposedly some kind of criminal mastermind who’s involved in money laundering and drug trafficking. But on the other hand, she’s not savvy enough to know that her conversation with someone in jail is being recorded, nor is she savvy enough to know that the police would easily discover the huge sums of cash in her bank account. Speaking of which, if she’s making $100,000 from her illegal activities, why is she working as a maid in a hotel?

      And about the taped conversation: there appears to be nothing in that conversation that indicates the assault did not happen. And why would she lie about it in conversation she didn’t know was being recorded? Discussing the possible benefits of pressing charges certainly does not mean that the assault didn’t happen. If she admitted on the tape that the encounter was consensual, I am quite sure that information would have already been released and the charges dropped long ago. And if she actually is some kind of savvy criminal, wouldn’t she realize that it would likely be a lot more profitable to extort DSK by threatening to go to the police rather than immediately reporting the assault?

      My point is that yes, her credibility and character may be in question in a general sense, but there’s (so far) nothing to indicate that her credibility about the assault is in question. It seems that all of her statements have been completely consistent in that regard. And apparently the police found it credible enough at the time that they rushed to the airport to arrest him (against a great deal of political pressure, no doubt). You and I both know that this is not something they would take lightly and everyone from the DA’s office to the Mayor had to know what was happening and give it the OK.

      As for his actions that day, they seem pretty much in line with what you’d expect from a very powerful man who is used to getting whatever he wants, when he wants it. I’m sure he thinks that he did absolutely nothing wrong and would never expect “just a maid” to press charges against him when so many other women have been too afraid or intimidated to do so. He is used to having his indiscretions (or worse) covered up, excused, brushed aside, and certainly he expected the same here.

      Is it still possible that she lied and the encounter was indeed consensual? Sure. But so far, there’s no evidence that she is lying about what happened, and in my opinion, there’s no reason not to let a jury weigh the facts and decide. It’s a shame that because the victim is not a pristine, perfect saint and because DSK is a wealthy, powerful man, it looks like this will not happen.

      I just saw this article that echoes a lot of what I’ve said – it’s worth a read: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/07/02/2011-07-02_liberteacute_oui_egaliteacute_non_dsk_accusers_shady_so_what.html

  2. The problem is the one sided discussion thought process. The facts are only known by two people DSK and the Maid. The bias NY press (and many Americans are anti-French because they didn’t support that failed and ill advised war in Iraq, and for some strange reason think that French people are rude – yet they are much nicer and more polite than Americans – by far!), has not presented a fair representation of the facts. Read the story on msnbc.com and you will see a case falling apart and a case no prosecutor would want to try. The credibility or this woman is key to the case because it is her word of what happened that afternoon that is key to the case. So if she is a proven liar, which she is, it is immensely damaging to the case. Again, DSK has never said nothing happened, he said from the beginning we had consensual sex. Finding DNA evidence would not be unusual. I do not remember the name of a prominent lawyer (female) who the day after the case said, do not rush to judgement and the key to this case will be the card swiping on the room. This lawyer deals with rape cases all the time and she said there are strict rules about the key swiping and it will tell us the timeline, and it will tell us if anyone is lying. Alas, the Maid has lied about this, did not follow hotel protocol and ‘left out’ important facts surrounding the key swiping. The lying and omission of these facts are important. DSK has a reputation with the women no doubt, but does that mean anything in this incident? To bring in only his past is not fair. The reliability of a victim and witness is key to a case, and the Maid is extremely unreliable. Why did she speak to her boyfriend in Arizona in a dialect from Africa – because she thought the authorities would not know what she is talking about. She lied about having a daughter so she could get more tax refunds. This Maid has lied repeatedly and now will probably face charges because of some of her lies. What if she is lying about DSK, should she be charged. Should she campaign for him for French President? What an opportunity taken away from someone because of consensual sex.
    Yes there are many powerful men who think they are able to get away with things and will not be held accountable and even have disdain for maids, etc. That may have been the case here, but from the things I have read and know, I believe him over her right now. Her checkered past has caught up to her, and she is not credible or believable.
    The country she came from is horrible. Why are we invading countries like that because the way they treat women and their stupid laws and their record on human rights. However, when it comes down to a simple case he said, she said, it is so important to make sure you are right.
    The press has not discussed the facts that he was not fleeing the country and he has never denied something happened – just nothing illegal. If he wasn’t French I wonder if the attitude would be much different. I wonder if he was from England or a ‘good religious’ man we wouldn’t take a step back before we judge him guilty.
    When all the facts come out, I believe that the police will try to justify their rush to Probable Cause and rush to the airport (I believe they were afraid of another Roman Polanski incident – now their is a real SOB) to make the arrest. I believe that the DA will regret if they were consulted before the arrest was made, and that ill advised news conference. The Big Fish, the Big Case, has alluded them and they look foolish, and have destroyed a man. Let us see what has happened since the arrest on the Allegations – yes, they are allegations – DSK has lost his job, has had to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to lawyers and for security, almost definitely lost the strong, strong possiblity to be the French President in 2012, and his name has been dragged through the NY media circus and Americans have not shown him the good decent justice system we are suppose to have. What has happened with the Maid since the arrest – on Allegations – we have discovered she has bank accounts in four states (do you?) and she is just a maid in a hotel, she has said she “knows what she is doing and can get money from this guy (DSK), it has been revealed she lied on tax forms, she lied about past rapes, she is involved heavily with known drug dealers and criminals, and she has numerous cell phones. I bet we have just touched on the tip of the real person we are dealing with in this case. Who got the worst of this deal?

  3. Sabiha Janaan Choudhury

    Eddie, keep your blogs rolling. I find them ever so informative.

    I agree, we do need to wait until all the facts are reported, but until then, your perspective of DSK and the maid rings the truest.

    Yes, keep them rolling.

  4. This situation annoys me for one reason in particular. It’s my understanding that the reason most rapists walk is because the victim is too scared to testify. This case seems to be backing that up, the system is saying that they SHOULD be afraid to testify, because not only will the bad guy not be punished if he is halfway important, but it would also tear your life apart. The cases publicised like this make it look like it’s likely your case will go the same way. Why bother prosecuting if all you will get is a debt to a lawyer?

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