Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 5:29 AM
Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), of course, is the IMF head who police hauled off an Air France plane on May 14, just as it was about to depart for Paris from New York. He was duly arrested for first attempting a few hours earlier to rape a maid when she came in to clean his hotel room and then forcing her to perform oral sex.
Many commentators predicted that the presumption of innocence would allow him to hold on to his job pending the outcome of his trial, but that, given the manner and timing of his arrest, as well as the charges against him, he would never be granted bail. By contrast, I predicted that he would be forced out of his job within days of his arrest, but that he would be granted bail.
As things turned out, initially, DSK was forced to resign within days, but denied bail. In declaring my disagreement with the judge’s decision to deny his bail application, I wrote the following:
There are all kinds of devices available today to prevent such flights [as Polanski's]. This is why I think it would have sufficed to set a high, cash only bail (like the $1 million DSK offered to pay), confiscate his passport, and require him to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.
(No bail for IMF Head Dominique Strauss-Kahn…?, The iPINIONS Journal, May 17, 2011)
I was soon vindicated. Because here are the bail terms an appellate judge set out a week ago today in overruling that earlier decision:
Judge Michael Obus set bail terms of $1m in cash as well as $5m in an insurance bond set against the international politician’s properties in the U.S. He also demanded that Strauss-Kahn surrender all his travel documents and that he remain under house arrest in Manhattan under 24-hour armed guard…
Stringent conditions would include an electronic bracelet that would send a signal to the company and a police station the moment Strauss-Kahn left the property, video cameras to monitor him inside the property, and a 24-hour rotation of armed guards who would be physically present at the apartment.
(London Guardian, May 20, 2011)
But I feel constrained to note that being granted bail does not mean that DSK will beat the charges — as Bernie Madoff would readily attest. In fact, DSK is in far greater legal jeopardy than previously thought.
For a grand jury has now increased the number and seriousness of the charges against him by handing down a seven-count indictment, which includes two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, sexual abuse in the third degree, unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, attempt to commit rape in the first degree and forcible touching.
Even worse, prosecutors disclosed that crime scene investigators collected DNA evidence that corroborate all of the charges. And, since conviction on the more serious charges would require him to serve his time consecutively, he’s now facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.
Accordingly, I reiterate my admonition that DSK’s lawyers would be well advised to prevail upon him to cop a plea. Because I think he’s as guilty as sin and would be convicted on all counts!
Meanwhile, reports are that friends of DSK are trying to bribe his accuser’s “dirt poor” relatives in West Africa to prevail upon her to drop the charges. But I submit that such a move would not only provide further evidence of his consciousness of guilt, it would do little to derail the case against him.
After all, where the accuser may refuse to testify, she has no authority to drop the charges pending against him. Moreover, the accuser has already testified under oath about what occurred and the forensic evidence collected is even more damning than her testimony.
So even if she suddenly refuses to testify, DSK would still be tried, convicted, and thrown in prison. Mind you, now that she’s in the protective custody of the NYPD, it’s virtually impossible for her relatives to get in touch with her, let alone persuade her to drop the charges (or even to change her story from one of a brutal assault to one of a consensual assignation).
That said, I would actually encourage the accuser’s relatives to say anything that would induce DSK’s foolish rich friends to part with as much of their money as possible. Reports are, however, that, like her, the accuser’s relatives are devout Muslims who reacted with righteous indignation to suggestions that their poverty made them susceptible to such a bribe.
Here’s how Reuters quoted her brother on point just yesterday:
In our family, we are above material things. Even if you are a billionaire, we don’t care. The most important thing for us is how you follow God’s path.
Finally, the irony is not lost on me that many commentators are now asserting that DSK could frustrate the accuser’s attempt to collect millions in a civil suit, which she is bound to file, by ensuring that all properties and bank accounts are in his wife’s name (and situated outside the United States). But I have no doubt that her lawyers will seek to attach the cash and bond that he put up to secure his bail. This will guarantee that at least $6 million will be available to satisfy a civil judgment against him.
For he has gotten his long-suffering (stupid) and enabling wife to rent a $14 million, 6,800 sq ft town house in the exclusive Tribeca neighborhood in lower Manhattan that comes complete with a state-of-the-art theater, gym, spa, and four bedrooms with jetted tubs and steam showers.
Of course, this selfish and self-indulgent SOB probably doesn’t care if they use up all of their family’s savings pampering him and paying his lawyers millions to put on a futile defense, which will undoubtedly include all kinds of tactics to delay DSK’s inevitable move from this town house to a prison cell for as long as possible.
No doubt he’s thinking that none of his family’s fortune will be of any use to him once he’s in the pokey, and he obviously couldn’t care any less about the welfare of his wife and children….
No bail for DSK…