Yesterday, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his lawyers met with the Manhattan DA's Office. But don't worry—the former head of the IMF is not going to take a plea deal! His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said, "We had a constructive meeting with Mr. Vance and his colleagues," while Manhattan DA's Office spokeswoman Erin Duggan said, "The investigative process is continuing, and no decisions have been made." And to round things out, the accuser's lawyer spoke out yesterday, too.
Kenneth Thomspon, who is representing the Sofitel maid who says that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her and forced her to perform oral sex, sent a letter to DA Cyrus Vance telling him to get lost, "District Attorney Vance, we ask in earnest that your office voluntarily recuse itself from the Strauss-Kahn case and that you appoint a special prosecutor." But that's wishful thinking: The NY Times reports, "Mr. Vance promptly rejected the request. Prosecutors remove themselves only in extraordinary circumstances, generally when there is a personal stake in the outcome or a clear conflict of interest."
A week ago, it was leaked that prosecutors are worried about the strength of the accuser's claims, because the woman, an immigrant from Guinea, has apparently been lying to them (investigators say she's lied on her asylum application and appears to have ties to money laundering and criminals). In fact, the case has weakened to the point where Strauss-Kahn, once under house arrest and a multi-million bail, is now free.
Thompson says that the investigators are drawing the wrong conclusions because they are only listening to a small part of a transcript of his client's conversation with her boyfriend, where she allegedly implied she was shaking down Strauss-Kahn. According to the Times
Mr. Thompson said earlier this week that his client denied that she made the remarks that prosecutors have attributed to her. “She says it’s not true, that she didn’t say it,” Mr. Thompson said. “The way they’re describing the tape, she doesn’t agree with it.”
The law enforcement official said that after further translation and review, prosecutors were confident that the digest accurately reflected what she said.
The investigation has at points been hobbled by difficulties and delays in arranging for translators who were fluent in the dialect spoken by the woman, who accused Mr. Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her when she went to clean his suite at the Sofitel New York on May 14.
Mr. Thompson, in an interview, said his client complained during one early interview session with prosecutors that the interpreter at that session was not rendering her words accurately. His client “stopped the guy, and says, ‘He’s not translating correctly, he’s not from my tribe,’ ” Mr. Thompson said. “Her tribe speaks a very unique dialect of Fulani.”
The Daily Beast has a story on why many asylum seekers lie on their applications; one advocate says, "When you’re going into a legal proceeding that hasn’t been explained to you and you don’t have adequate or ethical legal counsel and you know that your life or death may hinge on what you say, the temptation to use a story that worked for someone else is incredibly high."