Don't judge Strauss-Kahn for 'momentary lapse': lawyer

24th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is guilty only of "a momentary lapse of judgment" that should not be allowed to derail his stellar career, the former IMF chief's lawyer said Wednesday.

"I think we shouldn't make moral judgments about people," his star attorney Benjamin Brafman told NBC television, one day after a judge dismissed all the sexual assault charges against the one-time French presidential hopeful.

Brafman said that while Strauss-Kahn's behavior might not have been advisable, it was not criminal and should not impede his future prospects, amid speculation that he could seek to resurrect his political career.

"If you do something inappropriate, you don't get prosecuted," Brafman said.

"The moral judgment I've made about this man is on balance he's quite a remarkable individual. I'm very impressed by him on balance and the momentary lapse of judgment does not make the man," he said in an interview on the "Today Show" program.

"I think he is a brilliant mind and I think he has a lot to offer the world, and I hope the offers are wide and interesting," Brafman said.

A New York judge on Tuesday agreed to dismiss all the sex crime charges against former Strauss-Kahn, ending a sordid saga that upended the career of one of the world's most powerful men.

Prosecutors asked the judge to abandon a case they deemed untenable, after determining that the hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her had lied consistently to investigators and was not believable.

"Unless you have yourself been falsely accused of a very serious crime that you did not commit, I think it is impossible to understand the full measure of relief that Dominique Strauss-Kahn feels today," Brafman said.

"He paid a heavy price for a momentary lapse of judgement that was not criminal.

"At the end of the day, now that the charges are dismissed, I think it's a statement to the world that in these cases, including the media I might add, that rushing to judgement is not a good idea and let the system play itself out. The presumption of innocence is an important concept in our country."

Asked directly whether Strauss-Kahn might seek to return to public life in France, Brafman responded: "I think his options are wonderfully wide, he is a brilliant man and a brilliant economic mind when we need that most."

Attorney William Taylor, who also represented Strauss-Kahn, said: "I think he and his family will take some time and just relax.

"They will make whatever arrangements they want to make about where they want to live and when they want to move. And then I suspect he will gather his friends around him and make some decisions."

© 2011 AFP

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