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Entries in DSK (9)

Tuesday
Aug232011

Judge Dismisses Charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A judge in New York on Tuesday threw out the sexual assault case brought against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief and French presidential hopeful.

The ruling came shortly after the judge rejected a plea by Strauss-Kahn's accuser, hotel maid Naifissatou Diallo, to have the Manhattan district attorney's office replaced by a special prosecutor.

New York Criminal Court Judge Michael Obus granted a motion from prosecutors to dismiss all charges against the international power broker known simply as DSK, ending a highly publicized prosecution without answering the question of what really happened between Strauss-Kahn and the maid assigned to clean his hotel suite.

"I see no basis to deny that application" to dismiss the charges, Obus said. The judge stayed the order pending any appellate issues.

Defense attorneys said Strauss-Kahn would not return Tuesday to France but to his townhouse in New York.

Following the ruling, Strauss-Kahn walked out of court without answering questions from reporters, but released a statement shortly after saying he was grateful that the "nightmare" was over.

What was once viewed as a "strong" case based on an "unwavering" accuser fell apart amid "substantial" questions about the maid's credibility.

Assistant District Attorneys Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and Artie McConnell said the accuser "provided shifting and inconsistent versions of the events" and therefore they can't be sure "of what actually happened."

"We were no longer able to credit her version beyond a reasonable doubt," Illuzzi-Orbon said in court.

"We respectfully request that the court dismiss the indictment," she said.

During the investigation into the incident, prosecutors say, Diallo presented three different versions of the alleged assault and lied under oath. Her credibility "cannot withstand the most basic evaluation," prosecutors said in the motion.

Strauss-Kahn had long maintained he was innocent of the charges.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug222011

Strauss-Kahn Case May Take Dramatic Turn

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty ImagesUPDATE: Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office are seeking to dismiss the charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, ABC News has learned.

(NEW YORK) -- The highly publicized prosecution of former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn may take a dramatic turn, and possibly end altogether, Monday.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office has summoned the hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape, Nafissatou Diallo, to a meeting Monday afternoon. At that meeting prosecutors may reveal to her whether they intend to go forward with the case.

"While we remain hopeful that the District Attorney will decide to continue with the prosecution of Mr. Strauss-Kahn given the mountain of physical evidence demonstrating that he sexually assaulted Ms. Diallo on May 14, we are not confident that he will do so," said Douglas Wigdor, one of Diallo's attorneys.

Wigdor and his partner Kenneth Thompson are seeking to disqualify Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance from the case. They say they believe he is no longer impartial and they're seeking to move the case to another prosecutor's office. This kind of motion is rarely granted.

There was no immediate comment from the district attorney's spokeswoman.

Prosecutors have come to doubt the case, which once appeared strong, because of what they call "substantial credibility issues" related to Diallo's background and conduct.

Questions have arisen surrounding what happened immediately after the alleged attack and have led the Manhattan District Attorney's office to consider whether to drop the charges amid concerns about Diallo's credibility.

Diallo said she was in the hall when Strauss-Kahn left the suite, but hotel records show she briefly went into another room, and then re-entered Strauss-Kahn's suite.

Diallo has also admitted to lying on her tax returns and lying about the details of a rape in her home country of Guinea that helped her to achieve asylum in the United States -- but she says that it is irrelevant to what she says happened in Strauss-Kahn's hotel suite.

Strauss-Kahn has denied all charges. His attorneys have suggested the encounter in the Sofitel Hotel suite May 14 was consensual. His attorneys have portrayed Diallo as a woman out for money.

If charges against Strauss-Kahn are dismissed, as his attorneys have said they must be, a dramatic prosecution would end without answering the question of what really happened between one of the world's most powerful men and an immigrant maid inside the hotel suite.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug082011

Strauss-Kahn Accuser Files Civil Suit Alleging "Sadistic Attack"

Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The hotel maid who has accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in a New York hotel filed a civil lawsuit Monday.

In a 16-page civil lawsuit filed Monday in the Bronx, Nafissatou Diallo accuses Dominique Strauss-Kahn of a “violent and sadistic attack” that robbed her of “her dignity as a woman.”   

Even as Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance decides whether to go forward with a criminal case, Diallo, in a civil suit, says Strauss-Kahn caused her “severe mental anguish and emotional distress from which she may never fully recover.” She is asking for a damage award of an unspecified amount.

The suit comes two weeks before Strauss-Kahn’s next scheduled court date Aug. 23.  Prosecutors, meanwhile, have been weighing “concerns” about Diallo’s credibility.

Her civil suit portrays an encounter between “a man who had aspirations to become the next president of France” and “an innocent hardworking immigrant woman from Africa whom he had never met.”

The suit is detailed and graphic in its description of Diallo’s version of the encounter and its aftermath.  It quotes from news accounts to demonstrate the “public humiliation, shame, scorn and disdain throughout the world” it says were brought to bear against her.

The play-by-play of the encounter is consistent with the version Diallo gave in her interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts.  

“I want to let people know the truth,” Diallo said in the interview.  “I have to tell the truth.”

The suit notes, without specifics, alleged prior acts: “With violence and depravity in his heart and having the confidence of sexually assaulting other women in the past who did not immediately come forward Defendant Strauss-Kahn forced Ms. Diallo all the way to the back of the suite and down on her knees outside of a bathroom at the end of the corridor.”

Diallo’s attorneys are prepared to call as witnesses other women “who were sexually attacked” by Strauss-Kahn in hotel rooms, in apartments, at his place of business or “who were going about their normal day.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul282011

Attorney for Nafissatou Diallo Says Taped Conversation Was Misinterpreted

Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The attorney for Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, said a taped conversation between his client and a friend had been misinterpreted.

“The quote attributed to Nafi, "He has a lot of money.  And I know what to do" is NOT on the tape according to a Fulani interpreter retained by the District Attorney's Office,” Ken Thompson said.

That conversation is, in part, what led Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to have “concerns” about Diallo’s credibility.  Prosecutors from his office spent almost eight hours with Diallo Wednesday as they consider whether to go forward with the case.  

Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for Vance, declined to comment on the substance of the conversation, saying “This is a pending criminal case.  We will have no comment on evidence, or on any meetings between prosecutors and witnesses, civil attorneys, or defense counsel.”

Strauss-Kahn has denied all criminal wrongdoing and his attorneys have said all charges must be dismissed.

Diallo broke her public silence this week in an exclusive broadcast interview with ABC News during which she said she “wants justice” and wants Strauss-Kahn to go to jail.  Today she will appear in Brooklyn to thank her supporters.

The phone call that raised questions inside the district attorney’s office was between Diallo and an inmate at an Arizona immigration jail, someone Diallo describes as a “friend.”   

When prosecutors first heard the recordings they believed Diallo alluded to Strauss-Kahn’s money.  Thompson said after listening to the recordings on Wednesday he heard something different.

“Nafi Diallo was sexually assaulted and almost raped by one of the most powerful men on earth and that she told her friend, the person in jail, what he did to her the very first time they spoke. That is critical, because many of you are under the impression that the first time they spoke they were talking about how to get his money,” Thompson said.

The phone call is not the only reason prosecutors have said they have to reassess the strength of their case.  Diallo lied on her application for asylum and investigators believe she told them two different stories about what happened in the aftermath of her encounter with Strauss-Kahn.

In her interview with ABC News Diallo conceded she made “mistakes” but said they should not preclude the district attorney’s office from bringing Strauss-Kahn to trial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul252011

Exclusive: Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Accuser Speaks Out

In an exclusive interview ABC News' Robin Roberts speaks with the hotel employee who alleges she was sexually assaulted by former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. (ABC News)(NEW YORK) -- The hotel maid who has accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to sexually assault her in a New York City hotel room is ending her public silence in an exclusive broadcast interview with ABC News.

"I want justice. I want him to go to jail," Nafissatou Diallo told ABC's Robin Roberts. "I want him to know that there is some places you cannot use your money, you cannot use your power when you do something like this."

Strauss-Kahn may not go to jail. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is considering whether to drop the charges amid "concerns" he has said he has about Diallo's credibility.

Diallo was asked about the instances that caused prosecutors to "reassess the strength of the case." Diallo acknowledged "mistakes," but also said they should not preclude Vance's office from going forward.

"God is my witness I'm telling the truth. From my heart. God Knows that. And he knows that," she said.

The woman whose accusations upended the politics of France and the workings of one of the world's most prominent banking institutions was unequivocal in her assertion that Strauss-Kahn attacked her inside room 2806 at the Sofitel Hotel.

"I never want to be in public but I have no choice," Diallo told ABC News, adding "Now, I have to be in public. I have to, for myself. I have to tell the truth."

She reenacted moments of the alleged assault, at one point kneeling on the floor to describe how she says Strauss-Kahn tried to force her to commit a sex act.

"I turned my head, he comes to me, and grab my breasts," she said. "I said, 'Stop! Stop! I don't want to lose my job.'"

Diallo said she did not know who Strauss-Kahn was prior to the encounter May 14. Once she learned his identity she said she thought she would be killed.

"And then they say he's going to be the next president of France. And I say, oh my God! And I was crying. I said, 'they're gonna kill me.'"

Until now Diallo's identity had been protected. She said she is coming forward now to defend her story and her reputation, which has been besmirched by tabloid headlines calling her a prostitute.

"I'm not," Diallo said.

Defense attorneys for Strauss-Kahn categorically deny any criminal wrongdoing occurred. They have suggested what happened inside the hotel suite was consensual and, in a statement, they called Diallo's interview an "unseemly circus."

"Its obvious purpose is to inflame public opinion against a defendant in a pending criminal case," William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman wrote in a statement.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to comment on the interview.

"This is a pending criminal case," DA spokeswoman Erin Duggan said. "To protect the integrity of the criminal justice system, the rights of the victim, and the rights of the accused, we will not discuss the facts or evidence in what remains an ongoing investigation."

The interview took place in the Manhattan office of Diallo's attorney, Kenneth Thompson. He told ABC News he plans to file a civil lawsuit against Strauss-Kahn on his client's behalf within days.

"There's no mystery. There's no hiding the fact. This man attempted to rape her," Thompson said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul242011

Exclusive: Dominique Strauss-Kahn Accuser Tells Her Story to ABC News

In an exclusive interview ABC News' Robin Roberts speaks with the hotel employee who alleges she was sexually assaulted by former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. (Heidi Gutman/ABC News)(NEW YORK) -- The hotel maid who has accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to sexually assault her in a New York City hotel room has broken her public silence in an exclusive broadcast interview with ABC News.

"I want justice. I want him to go to jail," Nafissatou Diallo told ABC's Robin Roberts in an interview to air Monday on Good Morning America, World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, and affiliates of ABC News Radio. "I want him to know that there is some places you cannot use your money, you cannot use your power when you do something like this."

Strauss-Kahn may not go to jail. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is considering whether to drop the charges amid "concerns" he has said he has about Diallo's credibility.

There were no restrictions on the interview, and Diallo was asked about the instances that caused prosecutors to "reassess the strength of the case." Diallo acknowledged "mistakes," but also said they should not preclude Vance's office from going forward.

"God is my witness I'm telling the truth. From my heart. God knows that. And he knows that," she said.

The woman whose accusations upended the politics of France and the workings of one of the world's most prominent banking institutions was unequivocal in her assertion that Strauss-Kahn attacked her inside room 2806 at the Sofitel Hotel.

She reenacted moments of the alleged assault, at one point kneeling on the floor to describe how she says Strauss-Kahn tried to force her to commit a sex act.

"I never want to be in public but I have no choice," Diallo told ABC News, adding, "Now, I have to be in public. I have to, for myself. I have to tell the truth."

Defense attorneys for Strauss-Kahn categorically deny any criminal wrongdoing occurred. They have said what happened inside the hotel suite was consensual and, in a statement, they called Diallo's interview an "unseemly circus."

"Its obvious purpose is to inflame public opinion against a defendant in a pending criminal case," William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman wrote in a statement.

The interview took place in the Manhattan office of Diallo's attorney, Kenneth Thompson. He told ABC News he plans to file a civil lawsuit against Strauss-Kahn on his client's behalf.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul072011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Rejects Talk of Plea Deal

Richard Drew-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn say the former International Monetary Fund chief will not accept any plea deal. Prosecutors reportedly want Strauss-Kahn to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

"The investigative process is continuing, and no decisions have been made," a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said Wednesday, according to New York ABC News affiliate WABC.
Strauss-Kahn has been charged with trying to rape a housekeeper and forcing her to perform oral sex in a New York City hotel in May. The next scheduled court appearance is July 18.

The prosecutor's office said last week that questions about the victim's credibility had crippled the Manhattan district attorney's case, which resulted in his being released from house arrest.

Prosecutors outlined her lies and inconsistencies about the case in a three-page letter. It included details of a recorded call from the hotel maid to her boyfriend in an immigration jail in Arizona, where she told him, "Don't worry. This guy has a lot of money. I know what I am doing."

In addition to cheating on her taxes and lying about her income, the hotel maid also falsely claimed on her application for political asylum to the United States that she'd been gang raped in her native country of Guinea. But even after she admitted to altering her account of what happened after the encounter with Strauss-Kahn, prosecutors maintained there was still evidence to suggest a sexual assault had taken place.

But Sax, a former prosecutor with no connection to this case, is not convinced that the case is strong enough to proceed to trial. "A prosecutor has an obligation to bring charges only when they can believe that they can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, Sax said. "And at the end of the day, if you can't believe your witness, you don't have a case."

Strauss-Kahn's defense team indicated last week that unless prosecutors presented strong evidence, the former frontrunner to become the next president of France would not be willing to plead guilty to any crime.

If that is true, the district attorney's only options would be to drop the charges or take the case to trial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul012011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Released from House Arrest

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A smiling Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, left Manhattan State Supreme Court on Friday, arm in arm with his wife, Anne Sinclair, after he was released on his own recognizance and without bail.

Prosecutors said the case had "substantial credibility issues," ABC News learned Thursday night, and the District Attorney's office told the court Friday that it had reason to "reassess its position about the strength of the case."

The court ruled that the bail order be vacated, as well as the multimillion-dollar cash bond.

Despite the setback, the New York District Attorney's office did not move to dismiss the case and prosecutors noted that the alleged sexual assault was corroborated by forensic evidence. The district attorney's investigators have uncovered significant issues with the account of the maid who alleged that Strauss-Kahn assaulted her in a New York City hotel room.

Meanwhile, Lisa Friel, the chief of the Manhattan district attorney's sex crimes unit, has resigned the post she held for nearly a decade, ABC News has confirmed. Her resignation Wednesday, first reported by The New York Times, comes as one of the office's most high-profile sexual assault cases continues to unravel.

Discoveries that the Sofitel hotel maid considered financial gain, had questionable relationships with at least one alleged drug dealer and other issues in her past prompted prosecutors to present their findings to the defense, according to law enforcement officials and other people familiar with the case.

While prosecutors were initially extremely confident in their case after Strauss-Kahn's May 14 arrest, as soon as they realized it was unraveling, they did what was proper and contacted the defense. Senior prosecutors met with lawyers for Strauss-Kahn and provided details about their findings, ABC confirmed.

Strauss-Kahn, a leading candidate for the French presidency before being accused of sexually assaulting the woman, resigned his powerful position as head of the IMF in the wake of the allegations against him.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun062011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Pleads Not Guilty on Sexual Assault Charge

Richard Drew-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the man who was a contender to be the next president of France, pleaded not guilty in a New York criminal court Monday at his arraignment on multiple charges of sexually assaulting a hotel room maid.

In the moments before his plea, Strauss-Kahn had sat at the defense table between his attorneys, Benjamin Brafman and William Taylor, looking relaxed and with his legs stretched out.

The 13th floor courtroom was packed -- mostly with reporters -- at 9:20 a.m. for the arraignment of the former head of the International Monetary Fund on charges he assaulted a maid at a posh Manhattan hotel last month.

The former IMF czar entered court holding hands with his wife Anne Sinclair as they passed several dozen hotel maids chanting "Shame! Shame!" at the man known simply as DSK. One of the protesters held a sign that read, "An injury to one of us is an injury to all of us."

Court officials blocked off an elevator for Strauss-Kahn which he rode to the 13th floor where he was arraigned by Judge Michael Obus.

At a previous court appearance last month, Strauss-Kahn was ordered released from jail on $1 million bail. Strauss-Kahn was required to post an additional $5 million insurance bond and the French politician agreed to house arrest and 24-hour monitoring.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, who had been a contender to be the next president of France, had been deemed a flight risk and denied bail three days earlier. But his lawyers were able to negotiate terms for his release, allowing him to avoid having to remain in an 11 foot by 13 foot cell at New York's notorious Riker's Island jail, where he had been in protective isolation and on suicide watch.

Since Strauss-Kahn's DNA has been found in semen ABC News has learned was found on the maid's clothing and on a section of carpet, experts say the defense will likely insist that any sexual contact between the maid and Strauss-Kahn was consensual.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







ABC News Radio