Friday, 20 May 2011

Did He Lose It?

A-t-il pété un plomb?
It is now six days since his arrest and Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be released from jail today into a state of “house arrest” more strict than that imposed on prominent political prisoners in countries like Burma.

He will be confined to an apartment which has been rented specifically for the purpose.  The apartment will be fitted with cameras, no doubt linked to the New York prosecutor’s office in some way so they they can be forewarned of his defence strategy.  He will have to pay for an armed guard outside his door 24/7 to stop him from leaving.  He is required to wear an electronic bracelet.  He has had to deposit $1 million in cash with the court and give a $5 million bank guarantee that will be forfeit if he tries to escape!  All this is costing at least $200,000 per month, not including his legal fees.

It is ironic that this monthly sum probably represents nearly ten years of earnings for the victim of the alleged sexual assault.  In a case like this an out of court settlement is often the end of the whole affair and in the US large sums of money change hands.  It is inconceivable that someone who works as a chambermaid will be able to refuse the money that will be offered, and continue with the court case, so the questions left to be answered are when and how much?  Since her lawyers are paid a percentage of the settlement, however, they will try to jack it up as much as they can, they will also try to delay it, because that will put more pressure on the accused!  Of course, if investigations by the defence find anything detrimental to the character or veracity of the accuser, the scenario could change completely and a much earlier settlement would be likely!  In France buying your way out of trouble in this way will be viewed with distaste and will be yet another nail in his political coffin.  Being rich in France is already a reason to distrust or dislike someone but then to use the money for such a purpose will compound the offence. 

If a settlement is reached, it is still possible for the New York Prosecutor to bring the case to court based on the testimony given in police interviews and in front of the Grand Jury.  But he then risks losing it because the strength of the prosecution's case in front of a jury would be greatly weakened without its principal witness. Don't forget that his is an elected appointment.  There are no votes in losing cases and for that reason I think that this scenario is unlikely.

In the French media the whole affair is still topping the news bulletins. France continues to be shocked that the person who was the favourite candidate to win the 2012 presidential election could be in such a serious situation.   DSK has no further chance of any public office and, once this affair is resolved, his best bet is to plan his retirement strategy, but unfortunately for him other serious accusations are coming to light.

At first many people were saying that, although DSK was well known to be a great seducer, they didn’t believe that he would ever try to force himself on anyone.  Recently Tristane Banon, a French journalist/author has re-stated allegations made on tv in 2007, that in 2002 he made sexual advances towards her which became violent and amounted to attempted rape.  She resisted and the incident finished with a fight between them.  She hasn't made a formal complaint against him and she has said that she didn’t report it at the time, because she thought that no one would believe her. 

She told her mother, Anne Mansouret, who is a councillor (PS) for Haute Normandie on the Conseil Regional de l’Eure, about it at the time and there is an interview with her here.

Mme. Mansouret says « J'en ai parlé une fois avec DSK. Il a dit “je ne sais pas ce qui m'a pris, j'ai pété un plomb". »

“I spoke to him once about it and he said “I don’t know what took hold of me, I lost it”.”

Of course, this is all hearsay and has no legal force against DSK without a formal complaint behind it, but it certainly raises more questions about his character in my mind. 

I think he’s had it, “ses carottes sont cuites!” as they sometimes say here.


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