Strauss-Kahn lawyers deny 'smear campaign'

14th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Lawyers for fallen IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Tuesday denied they were conducting an unfair "smear campaign" by investigating a hotel maid who has accused him of attempted rape.

Dismissing French news reports, the defense team said it was conducting its own investigation into the allegations on Strauss-Kahn's behalf, saying he would "not receive a proper defense if his lawyers did not do so."

The former IMF chief has been accused of trying to rape the woman from Guinea and sexually assaulting her when she came to clean his hotel suite in a luxury Manhattan hotel on May 14.

Strauss-Kahn, a French national, has denied all seven charges and is awaiting trial under house arrest.

A statement from William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman denied that their campaign was to "unfairly smear the complaining witness" and that because of Strauss-Kahn's "financial resources, his lawyers will be able to manipulate the legal system."

"This is not true," the statement said, stressing the difference between the US and French legal systems. In France, an independent investigating judge probes the charges and hands over the findings to the defense.

"In the United States, a lawyer must conduct his own investigation into the facts in order to represent his client effectively and prepare for trial."

The lawyers highlighted that the prosecution does not always hand over all the relevant evidence, meaning it would be "reckless" for a defense lawyer "to rely on just the prosecution's evidence."

"It is his ethical duty to conduct his own, separate investigation."

Last week, court documents showed that the lawyers were investigating the 32-year-old woman, who has not been seen in public since the alleged incident in the Sofitel hotel.

In a nine-page letter to prosecutors, the defense attorneys put forward a list of demands for access to the evidence collected against Strauss-Kahn.

One request was for evidence of any prosecution witness "suffering from any physical or mental disability, emotional disturbance, drug addiction, or alcohol addiction."

Taylor and Brafman also demanded to know whether any defense witness has immigration problems or is seeking payments through a civil lawsuit.

© 2011 AFP

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