DSK Under House Arrest
Disgraced former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who stepped down from his position in light of multiple charges of sexual assault against a hotel maid, is under house arrest in Manhattan, according to Reuters. Strauss-Kahn, often known around the world by his initials, could face 25 years in prison if he is convicted of the charges, which include attempted rape.
He was released on bail Friday and has vehemently denied the charges against him. The charges came at the worst possible time for the Frenchman. The IMF is a key player in saving Europe from its current debt crisis. Strauss Kahn was also poised to declare his candidacy against unpopular French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Strauss-Kahn is expected to stay under house arrest – shielded from the media – until a “more permanent home can be found.” His search for a place to stay has not been easy.
Strauss-Kahn… ran into trouble finding housing when an apartment on the city’s Upper East Side leased by his wife, Anne, was besieged by the media, and the deal fell through...
His temporary housing was arranged by a private security company that is keeping him under armed guard and electronic monitoring as conditions of his bail. Prosecutors estimated the cost at $200,000 a month, which he is responsible for paying.
Although Strauss-Kahn’s career is effectively over, his legal proceedings are just beginning.
Without DNA evidence in the form of scratch marks or cuts on Strauss-Kahn or the maid, reports say, the charges of attempted rape will be difficult to prove. As the Guardian newspaper reports, the hotel keeps records based on electronic sensors on the doors. Electronic hotel records will provide evidence of whether or not Strauss-Kahn did indeed lock the victim in the room, as she has alleged.
Strauss-Kahn’s legal defense team is led by Benjamin Brafman, who is no stranger to high-profile defendants. His client roster has included hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, who was acquitted of gun possession and bribery; NFL star Plaixo Burress, who pled guilty to weapons charges; and, briefly, Michael Jackson, who was found not guilty of child abuse.
Brafman's reputation is that of a crafty and charismatic lawyer with a formidable track record for his clients. He has also brought in support in the form of Washington DC-based criminal defence lawyer William Taylor. Taylor, who has known Strauss-Kahn for years, is a veteran of civil and criminal cases, including the Whitewater inquiry that investigated land deals involving former US president Bill Clinton. The pair have worked together numerous times in the past.
Facing them, however, is a Manhattan district attorney's office that will be acutely aware of how high-profile the Strauss-Kahn case is and that will spare no effort to secure a conviction. It is led by Cyrus Vance Jr, who only took office in 2009 and whose term has not yet been marked by a big-name case.
Back in Strauss-Kahn’s home country, it is unclear who will be the clearest challenger to Sarkozy. Far-right National Front leader Marie Le Pen has a chance. She is well-known for nationalist, anti-Muslim views. Meanwhile, Strauss-Kahn’s Socialist party is scrambling to find a new favorite.
Deeper soul-searching is taking place in France, where politician’s sexual lives have rarely influenced the public’s perceptions of their political lives. Strauss-Kahn was himself a longtime womanizer. The obvious difference in the DSK case is that attempted rape is a public crime. Still, as the Economist points out, the French is weighing whether or not it needs to pay give more scrutiny to public officials private business.