DSK's Defense

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Sept. 19 2011 2:31 PM

DSK's Defense

Dominique Strauss-Kahn says the New York district attorney cleared him of sexual violence. Is that true?

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Not quite. The DA's report doesn't say there was no force or violence. It says "the nature and number of the complainant's falsehoods leave us unable to credit her version of events beyond a reasonable doubt, whatever the truth may be about the encounter." Later, the report says "we cannot be sufficiently certain of what actually happened. … Our grave concerns about the complainant's reliability make it impossible to resolve the question of what exactly happened."

Two more things in the TF1 interview are worth noting. First, when Chazal asked Strauss-Kahn whether he had paid for sex with Diallo, he replied: "No, this was not a situation where I paid for sex. But there was a weakness." This answer leaves unclear whether, as cynics speculated, Diallo offered him sex, expecting compensation, and then got angry afterward when he gave her nothing.

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Second, Chazal asked Strauss-Kahn about his 2003 interview with French journalist Tristane Banon. Banon says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her  in that interview. In his official biography, Strauss-Kahn claimed the interview "took place normally." But last week, L'Express reported that Strauss-Kahn told investigators he tried to kiss Banon and was rejected. On TF1, when Chazal asked Strauss-Kahn for his version of the incident, he replied that he had told investigators the truth: "I said that in this encounter, there's just no assault, violence. I won't say more than that." So it seems his account of the Banon incident has shifted to fit the evidence while still denying a crime. In the Diallo incident, the DNA evidence made an initial blanket denial of impropriety impossible.

Did Strauss-Kahn assault these women? I wouldn't convict him based on the evidence presented so far. I wouldn't exonerate him, either.