Strauss-Kahn did have sex with maid: prosecutors

23rd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

What New York prosecutors first depicted as a cut-and-dried case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn forcing himself on an immigrant hotel maid ended as a tangle of lies, semen-spattered clothing and a decision to let the former finance chief go free.

In the fullest official account yet of what happened in the Manhattan Sofitel on May 14, prosecutors said physical evidence does not prove allegations that the then International Monetary Fund head sexually assaulted Nafissatou Diallo, a Guinean immigrant.

The case then collapsed because the maid, whose testimony would be key, told repeated lies and "their cumulative effect would be devastating," prosecutors said in their 25-page motion asking the court to dismiss all charges.

What is sure is that a brief sexual encounter took place between Strauss-Kahn and Diallo, prosecutors said.

DNA testing "established that several stains located on the upper portion of the complainant's hotel uniform dress contained semen that yielded the defendant's DNA," the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said in the motion.

Evidence collected was "consistent with a non-consensual encounter," prosecutors said.

Another factor considered was the hurried nature of the sex act which resulted in Strauss-Kahn's semen landing on the maid's clothing.

"The encounter between the complainant and the defendant was brief, suggesting that the sexual act was not likely a product of a consensual encounter," the motion said.

But further investigation failed to turn up evidence strong enough to convict Strauss-Kahn, prosecutors said.

Diallo showed no injuries strongly indicating attempted rape and slight damage to her undergarments could have occurred from normal wear and tear, the motion said.

Another important piece of evidence was the discovery of Strauss-Kahn's DNA "on both the interior and exterior waistband" of the tights worn by the maid, "as well as on the waistband of the panties."

But, the motion said: "These findings suggest that the defendant touched the complainant's undergarments, but they do not controvert or confirm the complainant's account that the defendant placed his hand inside her underwear and groped her genitals directly."

A speck of blood found on the bed was from Strauss-Kahn who was suffering a skin condition on his hands and was not thought to be evidence of a struggle, the motion said.

Although prosecutors and police found Diallo's story entirely credible at first, she quickly undermined her case by lying to investigators and to the grand jury that indicted Strauss-Kahn, the motion said.

One issue was her constantly changing story about what she did immediately after the alleged attack, ranging from hiding fearfully in a corridor to returning to the room to clean after Strauss-Kahn left.

Most seriously, Diallo admitted that she had entirely made up a story during her asylum application to the United States about being gang raped in Guinea.

During one session with prosecutors, she repeated the story with so much emotion that "she cried, spoke hesitatingly, and... even laid her head face down on a table in front of her."

Later, she said "she had entirely fabricated the attack."

This lie, prosecutors said, made her fatally vulnerable to cross examination in court, because Strauss-Kahn's attorneys would be able to argue to the jury that she had a history of successfully making up sex attacks.

"Most significant is her ability to recount that fiction as a fact with complete conviction," the motion said.

"That she has previously persuaded seasoned prosecutors and investigators that she was the victim of another serious and violent -- but false -- sexual assault, with the same demeanor that she would likely exhibit at trial, is fatal."

© 2011 AFP

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