Friday, April 19, 2024

Charges still stand


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NEW YORK – Attorneys for Dominique Strauss-Kahn said yesterday that the defence team had a “constructive meeting” with prosecutors, who maintain that they are not ready to drop sexual abuse and attempted rape charges against the French financier after questions were raised about the accuser’s credibility.
“The investigative process is continuing, and no decisions have been made,” said Manhattan District Attorney spokeswoman Erin Duggan.
The two-hour meeting came just days after prosecutors disclosed credibility issues regarding the hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of sexually attacking her.
“We had a constructive meeting today with (Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance) and his colleagues,” said a statement from William W. Taylor III and Benjamin Brafman.
Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty in June to charges that prompted him to resign from his post as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
Questions about the case surfaced last week when Vance indicated that the woman, 32, had been less than truthful with authorities about some aspects of her life and her whereabouts immediately after the alleged attack at the Sofitel hotel on May 14.
Legal analysts suggest that prosecutors are looking for ways to salvage the case.
“Prosecutors correctly regard dismissal as complete humiliation and capitulation,” said CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. “If they can get a guilty plea, even to a misdemeanour, that would be a slightly face-saving route out of this case.
“But it seems clear that the defence now very much has the upper hand,” he added.
On Tuesday, the accuser’s attorney, Ken Thompson, said that the district attorney had refused to meet with him.
“I’ve been trying to see him today,” the lawyer said in a statement. “I’m a former federal prosecutor, and he will not meet with me. That’s outrageous.”
A source with knowledge of the investigation defended the district attorney’s office, saying its staff had several meetings with Thompson.
The source also told said that Thompson refused to allow his client to talk with prosecutors for more than two weeks at a “critical point in the investigation” – a time that involved efforts to go over discrepancies with the maid.
Thompson also criticized the district attorney for not letting him or his client hear a recorded conversation between the woman and her boyfriend that took place two days after the alleged attack occurred.
A source with knowledge of the investigation paraphrased what the maid said in that call, which was placed by the boyfriend from the Arizona jail where he’s incarcerated. “She’s fine and this person is rich and there’s money to be made,” the source said.
Prosecutors received a transcript of the call last week, two days before announcing in court the maid had credibility issues.
Thompson acknowledged that his client discussed the alleged sexual encounter with Strauss-Kahn in the conversation, and added that he had been told by prosecutors that her account was consistent with what she told investigators. The Guinean dialect spoken by the man, according to Thompson, deserves a separate translation.
“What I want is a copy of the tape,” he said. “Not next week, right now.”
The district attorney’s office declined to comment on Thompson’s request.
Thompson has passionately defended his client, saying that just because she’s made mistakes in the past does not mean she wasn’t the victim of sexual assault. (CNN)


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