Strauss-Kahn accuser’s lawyer speaks of ‘lies, mistakes’

2011-07-02 07:55

New York – With the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn on the verge of collapse yesterday, his accuser’s attorney lashed out at prosecutors, painting the incident in graphic detail.

“The only defence that Dominique Strauss-Kahn has is that this sexual encounter was consensual. That was a lie,” said attorney Kenneth Thompson, speaking moments after Dominique Strauss-Kahn was freed from house arrest after prosecutors said his accuser had credibility problems.

Thompson wagged his finger as he spoke to an army of reporters gathered outside the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, accusing District Attorney Cyrus Vance of preparing to abandon the case.

Thompson defended the still unnamed African-born chambermaid who claims she was sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn in the swank Manhattan Sofitel hotel on May 14.

According to the alleged victim’s initial testimony to the grand jury, she fled the hotel suite immediately after the attack and waited in the hallway before informing a supervisor.

But, prosecutors revealed yesterday, the 32-year-old maid subsequently changed her story to say she actually cleaned another room and even returned to cleaning Strauss-Kahn’s suite before alerting her bosses.

The woman also lied on details of her asylum application to come to the United States, falsely claiming that she had been a victim of gang rape in her native Guinea.

Thompson admitted his client had made “some mistakes” and said that she had volunteered the information herself. But despite the inconsistencies, he insisted the forensic evidence proves Strauss-Kahn was guilty.

“Dominique Strauss-Kahn came out running out of one of those rooms naked, toward her, and he grabbed her breasts first and started to attack her,” the lawyer said.

“He grabbed her vagina with so much force that he bruised her vagina. The nurses who examined her saw the bruises ... and took pictures.”

Thompson said the attack was so violent that Strauss-Kahn ripped the maid’s stockings and tore a ligament in her shoulder.

“That is a medical fact. She now may need surgery for the damage he caused to her shoulder,” he added.

“After he finished, she got up and started to run for that door and started spitting Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s semen out of her mouth in disgust all over that hotel room.”

The medical evidence “supports the victim’s account. The forensic evidence supports her account. She was taken from the hotel to the hospital in an ambulance. A grand jury has already found her account credible,” he said.

Thompson said that information in the media “concerning whether she’s involved in drugs and so on – that’s a lie.”

A law enforcement official told The New York Times the maid may have links to criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.

Within a day of the alleged rape attempt, she was recorded speaking on the phone with a man jailed for possessing 400 pounds (180 kilograms) of marijuana and discussing the benefits of pursuing charges, according to the newspaper.

The Times said that man was one of several individuals who had made multiple cash deposits, totalling around $100 000, into the woman’s bank account over the last two years.

Thompson said he feared the district attorney’s office was “laying the foundation to dismiss this case,” even though Vance stressed that Strauss-Kahn still faced charges and that prosecutors would continue their investigations until they had uncovered all the facts.

“Our concern is that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is too afraid to try this case. We believe that he’s afraid that he’s going to lose this high-profile case,” said Thompson, referring to a string of recent important cases Vance has lost.

“Any rape victim’s credibility is important,” said Thompson, “but you cannot become blind to the physical corroborating evidence.”

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