Strauss-Kahn dismissal request outlines a 'pattern' of lies
A judge on Tuesday is expected to drop all charges against former International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was accused in May of trying to rape a housekeeper in his Manhattan hotel suite. Here is a look at some points raised in the 25-page motion that prosecutors filed Monday requesting the case be dismissed.
The motion made clear that prosecutors, who once considered the accusor, Nafissatou Diallo, a reliable witness, could no longer believe her because of lies told to investigators since the alleged crime May 14.
"That an individual has lied in the past or commited criminal acts does not necessarily render them unbelievable to us as prosecutors, or keep us from putting them on the witness stand at trial," said the motion, which was signed by assistant district attorneys Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and John (Artie) McConnell. "But the nature and number of the complainant's falsehoods leave us unable to credit her version of events beyond a reasonable doubt, whatever the truth may be about the encounter between the complainant and the defendant. If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so."
The motion went on to say: "The physical, scientific, and other evidence establishes that the defendant engaged in a hurried sexual encounter with the complainant, but it does not independently establish her claim of a forcible, nonconsensual encounter .... Aside from the complainant and the defendant, there are no other eyewitnesses to the incident. Undeniably, then, for a trial jury to find the defendant guilty, it must be persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant is credible. Indeed, the case rises and falls on her testimony."
"We do not make this recommendation lightly," it said.
The motion also outlined problems with Diallo's account of events, from her initial report of an assault at the Sofitel in Manhattan, through a series of subsequent interviews with investigators.
Specifically, it said Diallo gave three differing versions of her actions immediately after the alleged attack. "Not only does this impair her reliability as a witness, but these varying accounts also make it difficult to ascertain what actually occurred in the critical time frame" in the minutes after she and Strauss-Kahn encountered one another, the motion said. "We have no confidence that the complainant would tell the truth on this issue if she were called as a witness at trial."
The motion went on to describe additional examples of "the complainant’s persistent pattern of false statements," including her claim to have been gang-raped in her native Guinea and subsequent admission that she had not been.
"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," the motion said. "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."
In addition to the lies, the motion cited a lack of conclusive physical evidence to prove an assault occurred, noting even that Diallo’s torn panty hose are not proof of attempted rape because "common experience indicates that nylon panty hose can experience defects for a variety of reasons, including normal wear and tear."
It concluded by requesting a dismissal of the case, something a judge is expected to grant at Tuesday's hearing.
--Tina Susman in New York
Photo: Protesters angry over prosecutors' plans to drop the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York. Credit: Brendan McDermid / Reuters