Strauss-Kahn accuser target of 'smear campaign': lawyer

6th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

The woman who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her is the target of a "smear campaign" but will give evidence in court against the former IMF chief, her lawyer said Monday.

Kenneth Thompson, defense lawyer for the 32-year-old woman, and Benjamin Brafman, Strauss-Kahn's star counsel, traded charges outside the New York Supreme Court after the fallen French politician pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against him.

Their press conference on a street outside the court set the scene for what promises to be an epic legal battle over the sex crime charges against Strauss-Kahn.

"Some of you in the media have portrayed the victim as being part of a sinister plot to bring down Dominique Strauss-Kahn. That is just not true," Thompson told reporters, adding his client was "a woman of dignity and respect."

He said suggestions made by defense lawyers that the sex in the New York hotel on May 14 was consensual were "preposterous."

"The victim wants you to know that all of Dominique Strauss Kahn's power, money and influence around the world will not keep the truth about what happened in that hotel room from coming out," Thompson said.

"Despite the smear campaign that is being committed against her, she is standing up for her dignity," the lawyer added.

"She is standing up for all women and children around the world who were sexually assaulted but were too afraid to say anything."

He added: "There are other victims of Dominique Strauss Kahn around the world. Other women who were sexually assaulted and sexually abused by Mr Strauss Kahn. We know of a young lady in France don't we."

A French journalist has told French television that Strauss-Kahn had assaulted her when she was interviewing him, but said she was too scared to make a complaint.

Strauss-Kahn's attorneys have indicated they will claim any sex between the wealthy Strauss-Kahn and the hotel maid in New York was consensual.

The woman who alleges the attempted rape was a maid at the Sofitel in New York where Strauss-Kahn was staying. She told police he forced her to perform oral sex and tried to rip off her underwear.

"She's going to come to the court house, she's going to tell the truth. What she wants is justice," Thompson said, describing his client as being "devastated" and "traumatized."

Strauss-Kahn was detained a few hours after the alleged attack on an airplane about to leave for Paris.

Brafman, who helped Michael Jackson in his child sex case, said that a review of the evidence would clear his client.

"It will be clear that there was no element of forcible compulsion in this case whatsoever. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply not credible," said Brafman.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, pleaded not guilty to all seven counts, including attempted rape, made against him.

Brafman has indicated in a letter to the court that he was unhappy with media leaks on evidence collected at the hotel. Reports said DNA tests had found Strauss-Kahn's semen on the maid's shirt.

Many in France believe the Socialist party figure has been mistreated, but the case has also stirred vigorous debate in the country over sexual harassment.

Strauss-Kahn is employing private investigators believed to be digging into the personal life of the maid. Lawyers claim to have information that could "gravely undermine" her position, but they have not given details.

© 2011 AFP

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