Three months after it began, it seems the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case has come to an end. Simon and I wrote about it as the trial unfolded.
With yesterday’s request for a dismissal, did we learn anything? Did something happen in that hotel room? According to both parties involved and the forensic evidence, yes. Was he guilty as accused? Who knows. Is it over? At least as far as these criminal charges go, yes.
Did Nafissatou Diallo have a phone conversation with someone in government custody, telling him she knew what she was doing and "this guy has a lot of money?" According to the prosecution team’s translators, yes, though the conversation was in a Guinean dialect.
When a case like this grabs the public’s attention, my initial sympathies lean toward the accuser.
Like any other whistleblower, my first thought was that Diallo seemed brave, strong and unwilling to stand for offensive behavior. Particularly given the cast of characters here -- a minority woman of limited means speaking out against a powerful Caucasian man -- I wanted to believe her.
It was difficult, then, to see the mounting evidence that Diallo had serious credibility issues. It’s hard to accept that one person could lie on immigration paperwork, an asylum plea and her tax returns, hear the transcript of her seemingly calculated phone conversation, and then believe her as a sole eye-witness in a he-said/she-said case
Again, I have a knee-jerk reaction, wondering to myself whether the prosecution is simply attacking her credibility instead of looking at the evidence specifically related to the case.
What is worse, accepting DSK’s insistence that the encounter was consensual, or potentially squashing a witness because she has lied about many other things? Are proven liars any less victimized if a crime is committed against them?
If a man has a history of so-called legendary indiscretions, does that mean he is guilty of assault every time he has a sexual encounter? If his accuser had not filed a civil suit seeking monetary damages, would that have made her story more believable?
Ultimately, nobody won this case. Not the lady, not the gentleman, and certainly not the district attorney.