More than a year after Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s brief encounter with a chambermaid at the Times Square Sofitel instantly destroyed his French presidential ambitions, the slow-burn aftermath of DSK’s illustrious career continues. On Monday, French police in Lille, north of Paris, opened a preliminary investigation into a December 2010 incident in the United States “susceptible to being qualified as gang rape” allegedly involving Strauss-Kahn, who was at the time the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
The new allegations came to light during depositions by two Belgian sex workers in the prostitution-ring case known as the Carlton Affair. In that case, Strauss-Kahn already faces preliminary charges levied in March of “aggravated pimping in an organized gang,” following other charges delivered against DSK associates, including a French police commissioner. One of the Belgian prostitutes is said to have accused Strauss-Kahn and at least some of those same associates of a violent, nonconsensual sex act against her at a sex party at the W Hotel in Washington on Dec. 16, 2010, although she has not pressed charges.
In the latest affair, according to French press reports, testimony by participants of the 2010 Washington sex soirée is contradictory.
One of the Belgian sex workers, known as Marion, who was allegedly paid €2,300 to travel to the U.S. for sex parties with the former IMF chief, claimed, according to leaks reported by French media, that she had sex once with Strauss-Kahn after dinner in a suite she shared with her colleague Estelle. But Marion reportedly claims that she said no to a second round of relations with Strauss-Kahn to no avail.
“I tried to free myself, but it was complicated, because he was on top of me, and he is very heavy,” Marion claimed, according the French daily Le Monde. “I kept saying that I didn't want to ... I didn’t yell, but I said it clearly ... several times out loud ... I tried to get away ... But Dominique Strauss-Kahn held me with his weight,” she claimed, according to the heavily truncated leaked testimony published by Le Monde Monday. Marion allegedly testified that a Strauss-Kahn associate—who, according to the same reports, told police he had consumed champagne, Red Bull, and half a tablet of Viagra after aperitifs and wine over dinner—held the woman’s wrists while encouraging Strauss-Kahn to continue.
The men involved have denied any wrongdoing. In a statement through his lawyers May 4, Strauss-Kahn said he “absolutely contests having committed the slightest act of violence of any nature whatsoever.”
Meanwhile, according to the testimony leaked to Le Monde, Marion’s colleague Estelle, who was otherwise “occupied” but present in the suite, appears to downplay the incident. “I saw from the look on [Marion’s] face that she didn’t like it ... I told DSK to stop ... since she didn't like it, [but] I didn’t hear her say ‘no.’ If she didn’t want to and if she had screamed, I would have heard, and I would have intervened,” Estelle allegedly testified.
Police investigators will now concentrate on parsing what really happened at the W Hotel before deciding on further steps.
In France, the disgraced Strauss-Kahn’s ongoing saga of alleged debauchery is now relegated to the society pages, long dead as a political story. His fate is reported in stark contrast to that of François Hollande, a Socialist rival who rose to grab the nomination after Strauss-Kahn’s fall from grace and win the presidency May 6. Late in the presidential campaign, rivals’ attempts to use Hollande’s erstwhile political links with Strauss-Kahn against the candidate for electoral gain fell flat. And word of the new preliminary investigation against Strauss-Kahn on Monday is tucked behind stories of Hollande with transatlantic colleagues at the NATO summit in Chicago. Last week, news that Strauss-Kahn was countersuing Nafissatou Diallo for malicious prosecution and defamation—after a Bronx judge decided May 1 that her civil suit against him could go ahead—was virtually lost in the coverage of Hollande’s inauguration.
But Strauss-Kahn should be pleased that the new Socialist president's first steps are overshadowing the agonizing demise of his career, not least because Hollande’s win for the Socialist Party very relatively rescues Strauss-Kahn’s place in the history books. Had Nicolas Sarkozy won reelection at the Socialists’ expense, Strauss-Kahn’s controversial stays in fine American hotels might have gone down in history as catastrophic game changers for his political side. Instead, they are merely part of an ugly personal nightmare.