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Paris - Doubts in Strauss-Kahn Case Rock French Politics

Published on: July 1, 2011 07:30 AM
By: AP
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FILE - Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn walks towards the Manhattan Criminal Courts building Monday, June 6, 2011 in New York.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)FILE - Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn walks towards the Manhattan Criminal Courts building Monday, June 6, 2011 in New York.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Paris - Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s allies are hoping that new doubts about the New York chambermaid who accused of him of assault can help revive his 2012 French presidential bid.

New York prosecutors have serious questions about the housekeeper’s credibility and will seek a substantial reduction Friday in Strauss-Kahn’s bail, a person familiar with the case said.

Investigators have come to believe that the woman lied about some of her activities in the hours around the alleged attack and about her own background, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday. The official is familiar with the case but spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet made public in court.

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Prosecutors think she lied about details on her application for asylum in the U.S., including saying she had been raped in her native Guinea, the official told the AP.

“She actually recounted the entire story to prosecutors and later said it was false,” the official said.

Prosecutors haven’t necessarily reached a new conclusion about the allegations against Strauss-Kahn and have not decided whether to downgrade the charges, the official said.

Many in France welcomed the surprising news — not only those who want to see Socialist Strauss-Kahn replace conservative Nicolas Sarkozy as president, but also many who feel the American media and public have unfairly assumed the 62-year-old Frenchman is guilty.

“Those who know Dominique Strauss-Kahn will not be surprised by this evolution of events,” one of Strauss-Kahn’s French lawyers and a friend for 40 years, Leon Lef Forster, told The Associated Press. “What he was accused of has no relation to his personality. It was something that was not credible.”

Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund and a prominent member of France’s Socialist Party, was considered a leading potential contender for next year’s presidential election in France before he was charged with attempted rape in May. He denies the allegations.

His arrest upended French politics and appeared to dash his ambitions for France’s top job. For months, polls had suggested that Strauss-Kahn would beat Sarkozy and enjoyed greater popularity than any other Socialist.

Sarkozy did not comment publicly Friday about the new legal developments in New York. The deadline for declaring candidacy in the French presidency is July 13.

French Socialist politician Michele Sabban said her party should put its presidential primary calendar on hold if Strauss-Kahn is exonerated.

“If Dominique Strauss-Kahn is cleared, I ask the Socialist Party to suspend the primary process,” Sabban said Friday on i-tele television.

The chief of the Socialist Party, Martine Aubry, said the news brought her “immense joy.”

“I hope that the American justice system establishes all the truth tonight and allows Dominique to get out of this nightmare,” she told reporters.

Aubry announced this week that she will seek the Socialist nomination for president. She and Strauss-Kahn had been rumored to be discussing some kind of joint ticket for the election.

The prospect that Strauss-Kahn could be released was greeted with satisfaction in France in part because many here felt that the case had stained the country’s reputation.

French viewers were shocked to see the man they thought might be their next president shackled and paraded before New York reporters. It’s illegal in France to broadcast images of a suspect in handcuffs before a conviction.

Another Socialist, Jean-Marie Le Guen, said on France-Inter radio that Strauss-Kahn “will be present in the presidential campaign” and that “the political stakes are changed by this event.”

“All those who dragged him in the mud are perhaps seeing things differently today, ” he said on France-Info radio.

Le Guen was among many French people, both supporters and critics of Strauss-Kahn, who had claimed the IMF leader was the target of a political conspiracy to torpedo his presidential chances. Within days of his arrest, a poll suggested that a majority of French thought Strauss-Kahn was the victim of a plot.

Other French politicians and commentators urged caution Friday, noting that the case against Strauss-Kahn is ongoing and that it may be premature to jump to conclusions about France’s presidential elections, held in two rounds next April in May.

Strauss-Kahn, who faces a court hearing in New York on Friday, has been under armed guard in a Manhattan town house after posting a total of $6 million in cash bail and bond.


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Read Comments (15)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 01, 2011 at 08:19 AM Tzi_Bar_David Says:

If this latest revelation is true; the NY County DA must resign. This man was set to be the next president of France. Heads will roll for this botch job.

2

 Jul 01, 2011 at 08:59 AM Velvel Says:

Reply to #1  
Tzi_Bar_David Says:

If this latest revelation is true; the NY County DA must resign. This man was set to be the next president of France. Heads will roll for this botch job.

I agree 100%, in addition this was a modern day Dreyfus Affair.

3

 Jul 01, 2011 at 09:20 AM Joe-Shmoe Says:

just goes to prove how the us justice system kills peoples lives many times unrightfully. not that I don't trust our justice system (nor do I deny the many times it wasn't perfect.) my point is, media libel, lawyers convictions on news outlets etc, doesn't render anybody guilty! not rubashkin, not spitzer, not strauss kahn (who is also jewish!) lawyers and accusers statements are just not convictions! nor are they evidence without the investigation! (drusha v'chakura!) they might be guilty, but are not proven to be guilty yet!

4

 Jul 01, 2011 at 10:01 AM ErMak Says:

" It’s illegal in France to broadcast images of a suspect in handcuffs before a conviction."

I like this law

5

 Jul 01, 2011 at 09:55 AM Sherree Says:

They must have paid her big bucks to recant her story.

6

 Jul 01, 2011 at 09:30 AM anonymous23 Says:

To Ben Brafman,

Your pretty impressive attorney!

7

 Jul 01, 2011 at 11:26 AM njmom Says:

Reply to #1  
Tzi_Bar_David Says:

If this latest revelation is true; the NY County DA must resign. This man was set to be the next president of France. Heads will roll for this botch job.

i don't think the prosecutor should resign at all. he's doing his job. this man was accused of a terrible crime, and it looked as if he was trying to leave the country at the time of his arrest. they kept him here on bail pending an investigation. if he is found to be unfairly accused, he will be released. i think anyone who is accused of rape would have been treated like this.
the media, on the other hand, went wild with this story, and if he is found innocent, they will look like idiots.

8

 Jul 01, 2011 at 11:48 AM Anonymous Says:

Some of you may not understand the article. This does not mean that the maid is lying about the incident itself. She could very well be telling the truth. It may just be the luck of the defense team that she had inconsistencies about her background among other things. It means that even if the incident really did happen, she herself may not be credible enough to allow a jury to believe it. The story she recounted was not the incident with Straus - Kahn, it was the rape in New Guinea she retracted. Either way, this case is definitely marred.

9

 Jul 01, 2011 at 01:30 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Some of you may not understand the article. This does not mean that the maid is lying about the incident itself. She could very well be telling the truth. It may just be the luck of the defense team that she had inconsistencies about her background among other things. It means that even if the incident really did happen, she herself may not be credible enough to allow a jury to believe it. The story she recounted was not the incident with Straus - Kahn, it was the rape in New Guinea she retracted. Either way, this case is definitely marred.

Yeah, you are right, but she proved that she is the kind of low-life woman who is prepared to lie about rape for a purpose, first time to gain US entry visa, this time for serious financial gain.

As for that vile man, I don't feel sorry. Other young women in France accused him of the same behaviour. Besides, he is two of the worst things a man can be: a frenchie and a socialist. As far as I see it, you can arrest him first, then investigate and you will surely find what to indict him for.

10

 Jul 01, 2011 at 03:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
ShmuelG Says:

Yeah, you are right, but she proved that she is the kind of low-life woman who is prepared to lie about rape for a purpose, first time to gain US entry visa, this time for serious financial gain.

As for that vile man, I don't feel sorry. Other young women in France accused him of the same behaviour. Besides, he is two of the worst things a man can be: a frenchie and a socialist. As far as I see it, you can arrest him first, then investigate and you will surely find what to indict him for.

He is also Jewish and pro-Israel. He has been an outspoken activist for Israel since the 80's. Considering how many Muslims and how much anti-Semitism exists in France, he actually may have been able to create a good position for the "Jewish" cause in France. By the way, you only reiterated what I already said. I said she lost her credibility. But it doesn't mean there won't be a trial. We have no idea what other evidence there may be for this particular case. If there is no trial over this case and charges are dropped, could be damage is already done. But people tend to be quite forgiving of wayward politicians when it's good for their personal agenda.

11

 Jul 01, 2011 at 06:51 PM Anonymous Says:

this lying muslim woman should go to jail for fabricating a fake rape case, and so should her lawyers.. and when she's released in 25 years ship her back to Africa. Fake accusers should get the same punishment as they wanted to cause

12

 Jul 02, 2011 at 10:05 PM JohnSmith Says:

It seems to me all they did was to prove she lied on her asylum application, another word she has no credibility. But all immigrants lie on their enter application! His lawyer just pulled same old trick!

13

 Jul 02, 2011 at 11:57 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

this lying muslim woman should go to jail for fabricating a fake rape case, and so should her lawyers.. and when she's released in 25 years ship her back to Africa. Fake accusers should get the same punishment as they wanted to cause

Agreed if she indeed made it up. But... at the very list, the DNA evidence shows (and his side doesn't dispute it) that some activity, whether consensual or otherwise, did take place. After which encounter, he left in a hurry for the airport to board a plane to the country that harbors criminals such as Polanski. Add to that that he was accused of very similar behaviour by young french women, including one journalist who came to interview him. Anyway, whatever happens to him, I won't feel sorry.

14

 Jul 03, 2011 at 12:35 AM charliehall Says:

Reply to #12  
JohnSmith Says:

It seems to me all they did was to prove she lied on her asylum application, another word she has no credibility. But all immigrants lie on their enter application! His lawyer just pulled same old trick!

You have just defamed millions of honest immigrants who have never lied about anything when they came here.

15

 Jul 03, 2011 at 12:36 AM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #2  
Velvel Says:

I agree 100%, in addition this was a modern day Dreyfus Affair.

Nonsense. The Dreyfus affair was completely motivated by anti-Semitism. There is no evidence of any anti-Semitism in this case.

16

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