In The Courts

DSK Has Credibility Problems Too; Let Jury Decide

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Win or lose, Wendy Murphy says justice demands that a jury consider a hotel worker's charges of sex assault against Strauss Khan and that Manhattan District Attoney Vance finish what he started.

(WOMENSENEWS)--The "collapse" of the accuser's credibility is depressingly predictable in the celebrated sex-assault case against Dominique Strauss Khan, former managing director of the International Monetary Fund and presidential aspirant in France.

Days after DSK's arrest I predicted here that the case would soon go "poof." Not because of the victim's credibility or the chance that she might be a tool of DSK's political opponents. It was the wealth of the accused, the relative poverty of the victim, and the fact that, before the ink was dry on DSK's arrest papers, people on his behalf reportedly had already made money offers to the victim's family in Africa to make the case go away.

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Yesterday, The New York Times reported that meetings are taking place about dismissal or a plea deal, signaling that the hotel worker's case is in big trouble.

Before we accept the idea that the victim's credibility has crumbled we should evaluate a few key issues.

    No 1: The victim's credibility problems have been described as so serious, prosecution may be impossible. But the victim in the "Rape Cop" case, that went to full jury trial and just ended in New York, had equal if not more serious credibility issues. Why didn't Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance dismiss those charges before trial?

    No. 2: Vance released to the public a detailed description of the victim's reported lies to immigration officials about being raped and tortured in her native country. She made those claims in support of her request for asylum and claimed she was at risk for further persecution if she were returned to Guinea. Vance claims these lies seriously undermine the victim's credibility in the case against DSK. "Lies" that Vance claims destroy the victim's credibility were made eight years ago and were probably crafted by someone other than the victim. If Vance's policy is that lying about such things almost a decade ago is a moral failing of such magnitude it prevents his office from prosecuting the far more serious crime of rape, let the word go out to all sex predators that they should choose immigrants as their victims. As if they aren't vulnerable enough.

    No. 3: No matter what the victim lied about in the past, the prosecutor found no reason to question the integrity of her DSK related claims. To the contrary, the forensic evidence proved the victim's essential credibility on the only facts that really matter.

    No. 4. If Vance thinks it's appropriate to dismiss rape charges because of a victim's prior false statements and other past behavior, as opposed to lies about the crime itself, then he should consider the past behavior and lies of DSK as well, including the case being brought against him now in France. Will the victim there suddenly develop credibility problems, too? Since when is the word of a woman not good enough at least to allow a jury to decide what really happened? DSK has been repeatedly accused of sexually offensive behavior toward women and admitted engaging in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a lower-ranking staff member. If the victim's past hurts her credibility, doesn't Vance have to say exactly the same thing about DSK? Again, let a jury make the call.

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If Money Talks, DSK Scandal Could Go 'Poof'


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Well written article, Ms. Murphy! This is an extremely important issue and situation. Ms. Murphy identifies the problems in rape cases, and how these problems are surfacing again in this case. There is no doubt of this rape, yet a man who apparently has raped more than once before might not go to trial because he and others have managed to defame the victim and have most media and public opinion not focus upon his moral and literal failings!
Best wishes to the young woman who was raped, may her life be filled with love and respect.