Belmont Club

C'est la vie

The New York Times reports that Dominique Strauss-Kahn may employ the defense that his relationship with the alleged victim was consensual. There are a few non-legal reasons why this not be a good idea.


  1. The only feasible way the “consensual” defense is going to work is if the defense destroys the character of the victim by portraying her a loose woman, a liar or unbalanced.
  2. The victim, according reports, is a black immigrant from Ghana, a devout Muslim, a single mother and has been a satisfactory employee of the the hotel for three years.
  3. She is said not have known who DSK was, even after told his name.
  4. The alleged crime occurs at a time when Arnold’s shennanigans are being made public and feelings against men acting like skunks are running high.

The alleged victim’s attributes make her an almost perfect poster girl for any of a half-dozen causes. The only way she could be more of a lightning rod for political causes is if she came out and announced that she was a gay environmentalist as well. If DSK’s lawyer is planning a defense in which a white, rich, French head of the IMF destroys this woman’s character it better be good. The woman’s lawyer has already gone on record saying it wasn’t consensual. The NYT article continues:

a person briefed on the case said the defense believed that any sex act may have been consensual.

That elicited an angry response from the lawyer for the woman. He dismissed any suggestion that the housekeeper, whom he described as “a very proper, dignified young woman,” had agreed to have sex with Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

“There is no question this was not consensual — she was assaulted and she had to escape from him, which is why when she finally got out of the room she reported it to security immediately,” said the lawyer, Jeffrey J. Shapiro. “It doesn’t matter what Mr. Brafman says and it doesn’t matter what the defendant says. Her story is her story, which she has told to everyone who asked her and she is telling the truth. She has no agenda.”


That is not to say DSK is not telling the truth, or that any of these considerations count from a legal point of view, but the circumstances of the victim will go far toward neutralizing whatever support he might have obtained from sympathetic politicians. Not that his peers are necessarily predisposed to sympathy. Perhaps people don’t rise to such positions with too much of the milk of human kindness about them.  His colleagues are already thinking of ditching him and are openly eying his old job. In the end his friends may have as much loyalty as one buzzard has for another. They may already want him out of the way and would jump at any chance. What may happen to poor Mr. DSK could be the closest thing in politics to being eaten alive.

Below, der elite vs der shmucks.



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