Strauss-Kahn Lawyers Agree to Delay of Hearing in Rape Case Until Aug. 23

(Trigger warning)


July 27, 2011

By Karen Freifeld and Patricia Hurtado

Ex-International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s next court appearance on charges of sexual assault and attempted rape was postponed until Aug. 23, the second time New York prosecutors have delayed the hearing.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, was scheduled to appear in state court in Manhattan on Aug. 1 on charges of assaulting a hotel maid. That court appearance had been delayed from July 18 to allow for further investigation. Strauss-Kahn, who is free as he awaits trial, has denied wrongdoing.

“The investigation into this pending criminal case is continuing,” Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “We will have no further comment.”

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers, William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman, said in an e-mailed statement that they consented to Vance’s request for a postponement.

“We hope that by Aug. 23 he will have reached the decision to dismiss,” the defense attorneys said in their statement.

Kenneth P. Thompson, a former federal prosecutor who is representing the accuser, said yesterday in a phone interview that she would “soon” file a civil lawsuit.

The hotel housekeeper has granted interviews to Newsweek magazine and ABC television to tell her story.

Tired of ‘Lies’

“She came forward because she got tired of hearing all the lies being told about her and about what happened in that hotel room,” Thompson said.

The New York Post reported this month that the maid was a prostitute. She isn’t, Thompson said. Manhattan chief assistant district Attorney Daniel R. Alonso said in a July 3 interview that prosecutors had no evidence to support the allegation.

Thompson has filed a libel lawsuit on behalf of the accuser against NYP Holdings Inc., a unit of News Corp. (NWSA) that does business as The New York Post, in New York State Supreme Court in the Bronx. The Post has said it stands by its reporting.

Thompson said yesterday that the housekeeper’s false statements in her application for asylum shouldn’t stop prosecutors from pursuing the case against Strauss-Kahn.

“Her asylum application has nothing to do with the fact that she was violently attacked,” Thompson said. “She hasn’t wavered in any way in regard to what happened in that hotel room.”

Indictment Allegations

Strauss-Kahn grabbed the maid’s breasts and tried to pull down her pantyhose, according to court filings. The former IMF chief attempted to rape her and forced her to engage in oral sex, according to the indictment.

Thompson, who as a federal prosecutor was involved in the 1997 police brutality case involving Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, said the maid wouldn’t be the first assault victim to make false statements.

“Abner Louima didn’t tell me and the prosecution team the entire truth in the beginning,” Thompson said. “He also made statements to the press that were not true. We didn’t abandon him because the evidence showed that he was sodomized in the bathroom of the 70th precinct in Brooklyn.”

Thompson said Louima admitted to making false statements, including to the grand jury.

Louima recanted a claim that officers said, “It’s Giuliani time!” as they tortured him in 1997, referring to then Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Broken Broomstick

One officer admitted in court he had thrust a broken broomstick into Louima’s rectum. He was later sentenced to 30 years in prison. Another officer was sentenced to prison for perjury.

According to a letter dated June 30 and filed with the court by Manhattan prosecutors, Strauss-Kahn’s accuser lied to a grand jury about her actions immediately after the alleged attack on May 14. The 32-year-old hotel housekeeper from Guinea also lied on her tax returns and in an application for asylum, according to the letter.

The woman admitted in June that she had falsely claimed she had been gang-raped in Guinea, prosecutors said. She had “cried and appeared markedly distraught” in two earlier interviews when recounting that rape, according to the letter from prosecutors to Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers.

Strauss-Kahn was freed from home confinement July 1 after prosecutors said the case against him was hurt by the maid’s “substantial credibility issues.”

On July 19, Manhattan prosecutors met with the lawyer for French writer Tristane Banon, who has accused Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her in Paris in 2003. David Koubbi, the lawyer for Banon, declined to comment as he left the Manhattan District Attorney’s office after the meeting.

Banon may be interviewed by Manhattan prosecutors, a person close to the case said after the meeting. The person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the possible interview, didn’t want to be identified.

French Inquiry

Paris police are conducting a preliminary inquiry into Banon’s allegations. They have questioned people who she said she spoke to about the incident to corroborate her story, including her mother, Strauss-Kahn’s daughter, and French socialist politician Francois Hollande, to determine whether a full investigation into attempted rape is warranted.

Strauss-Kahn was taken off an Air France flight by Port Authority police at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on May 14, the day of the alleged attack at the Sofitel in midtown Manhattan.

Strauss-Kahn, who has pleaded not guilty, resigned as head of the IMF four days later.

After being held for several days without bail, Strauss- Kahn was released on $1 million bail and $5 million bond and, until July 1, was required to remain under armed guard and electronic monitoring. Regarded as a flight risk, he could only leave his temporary homes in Manhattan for legal, medical and religious purposes.

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