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07.04.11

Strauss-Kahn to Sue for Slander

Faced with new alleged rape charges stemming from a 2002 encounter with a French novelist, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is suing back for slander. Plus, more updates.

Strauss-Kahn to Sue for Slander

Dominique Strauss-Kahn isn't taking his second sexual assault accusation sitting down. His lawyers say they will file a slander complaint against novelist Tristane Banon, who earlier today siad she will file a criminal sexual assault complaint against the former International Monetary Fund chief. Banon said in 2007 that she had been sexually assaulted by a politician, but her lawyer says her mother dissuaded her from naming the culprit. She named Strauss-Kahn as her attacker after his arrest on May 14, and today said she intends to press charges. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said that the French politician "has always said that the incident described by Ms Banon since 2007 is imaginary."

French Writer to File New Charges

Just days after a hotel maid’s case against him began to crumble, ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces new charges. French writer Tristane Banon is set to file charges against him stemming from an alleged sexual assault in 2002, her lawyer told Reuters today. According to The Daily Beast’s Christopher Dickey, Banon has claimed previously that she fought off Strauss-Kahn on the floor of an empty apartment nine years ago when she was 22. In a 2007 TV appearance, she called Strauss-Kahn a “horny monkey…I said the word ‘rape’ to scare him but it didn’t seem to scare him much,” she recalled at the time.

tristane banon to file charges against strauss kahn
Sipa; AP Photo

Socialists Extend Primary Deadline

If Dominique Strauss-Kahn wants to take a shot at the presidency, his party won't stand in his way. Socialist leader Martine Aubry said the party could change its primary schedule to allow Strauss-Kahn to run. "Since we like unreal debates in our country, let's say that Dominique Strauss-Kahn decided to come back as a candidate among us, no one will let a calendar stand in his way," said Aubry. Several other Socialist candidates also said they were open to stretching the party's deadline. All Socialists have to declare their candidacy by July 13, but the next hearing in Strauss-Kahn's case isn't until July 18.

Judge Weighs Dropping Charges, Hasn't Made a Decision

No decision has been made about whether to drop the charges against Dominque Strauss-Kahn, sources close to the investigation tell CNN. The statement comes days after DSK was released from house arrest following prosecutors’ questioning of the accuser’s credibility. The 32-year old Guinean hotel maid maintains that she was raped. However, a phone call to her boyfriend in an Arizona jail suggests other possibilities. Another source tells CNN that the accuser said, "She’s fine, and this person is rich, and there’s money to be made." The former IMF chief’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 18th.

France Will Welcome DSK Back Into Politics

French divided on whether DSK should return to politics According to a poll conducted by the French daily Le Parisien from Friday to Saturday, 49 percent of the people surveyed said that Strauss-Kahn should return to politics if he's acquitted of charges of sexual assault and attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York on May 14. But 45 percent said the former IMF chief, who had been slated to be the future frontrunner for the French presidency, should not return to politics. Among Strauss-Kahn’s own party, the Socialists, 65 percent said he should return to politics, and another 55 percent said they want the deadline extended for the date that a candidate could enter the primaries—so they can better familiarize themselves with Strauss-Kahn.

5 Lessons of the DSK Affair

Public intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy argues that the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair has been a dangerous “cannibalisation of Justice by the Sideshow.” The Strauss-Kahn case, he says, became a media spectacle in which the IMF chief was made to stand in for wealthy white bankers and the Old World elite. It also sets a dangerous precedent, he says, in presuming the accused guilty and the accuser innocent. “There is already a victim in this case and that is the very principle, in the United States, of the presumption of innocence,” writes Levy.

DSK's Accuser Talked About Making Money Off Case

Along with the inconsistencies in her story, the maid accusing Dominque Strauss-Kahn of rape allegedly has a romantic connection to a man serving a sentence in an Arizona prison for drug charges. She called the man the day after the alleged assault and in a recorded conversation talked about the possibility of making money off the case against Strauss-Kahn. Nevertheless, investigators have found no evidence that the maid had a financial motive when she entered the hotel room, and interviews with hotel staff corroborate her claim that she believed Strauss-Kahn's room was empty.

Strauss-Kahn Dines Out With Wife

Dominique Strauss-Kahn enjoyed his first night out of house arrest by dining with his wife in high style on Friday night. The former International Monetary Fund chief went to an Upper East Side Italian restaurant in New York City with his wife and two friends, and ran up a $600 tab on black truffle pasta, wine, and cheesecake. "He looks like he is in a very good mood,” said a woman at the restaurant. The four left by the back door, but made no attempt to hide, and smiled when confronted by a waiting photographer. Strauss-Kahn's $1 million bail and house arrest were lifted after prosecutors announced the maid accusing him of rape had holes in her story. The maid's attorney has threatened to take her story to the media.

Collapse of DSK case hurts NY prosecutor
 
The new developments in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case cast doubts on Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s handling of the case and his management style. Complaints coming from the D.A.’s office suggest that Vance pursues cases based on how much publicity they will get him, and he has had strained relations with the police department over crime initiatives and control issues. His wildly successful predecessor, who built the current D.A.'s office, barely speaks to him now. In the Strauss-Kahn case, Vance pursued a quick indictment, which critics say did not leave adequate time to check the accuser’s credibility. He also gave this case to two assistant district attorneys, rather than the sex crimes unit--two attorneys who may not have been familiar with common pitfalls of prosecuting sex crimes, such as an alleged victim having a questionable background.

DSK Released from House Arrest

Prosecutors will retain his passport, but the bail conditions that kept him restricted to a Manhattan townhouse have been lifted, and his $1 million bail has been returned. The stunning reversal comes after prosecutors revealed their case was not as solid as they once thought. They said the woman who has accused the former IMF head of rape admitted lying about her application for asylum and on her taxes. More relevant to the case, she admitted lying about the events of the alleged assault: It turns out that after Strauss-Kahn left, she cleaned a nearby room, then returned to Strauss-Kahn's and cleaned it, and only then called her supervisor to report the assault. Strauss-Kahn and his team seemed pleased with the ruling, issuing a statement commending the judge for heeding their doubts about the accuracy of the woman's statements. The accuser's lawyer said that just because there were “mistakes” in her immigration forms “does not mean she is not a rape victim."

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