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    So tell me precisely what the Manhattan DA did wrong?

    So tell me precisely what the Manhattan DA did wrong?

    The New York Times and New York Magazine have the long knives out for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.

    But tell me, what precisely is it the DA’s office did wrong in the Strauss-Kahn case?

    There was a quick indictment and serious terms to home confinement based upon what at the time seemed like a credible account of a sexual assault and an accused who was a substantial flight risk.  Had the DA’s office not acted quickly, and not imposed almost draconian terms on home confinement, the DA’s office risked a Roman Polanski-like situation of a sexual assault suspect fleeing to a safe haven beyond the reach of U.S. law.

    Then the credibility of the alleged victim and her story began to fall apart, most particularly in the past two weeks. 

    So the DA’s office did the right thing in disclosing the potentially exculpatory  information to the defense, and agreeing to release on personal recognizance, as the DA evaluated whether there even remains a case to be taken forward.   Should the DA simply have ignored the new evidence, or alternatively, precipitously used the new evidence as a reason to dismiss charges?  I think not.

    William Saletan writing at, catalogs the problems with the alleged victim’s story, and concludes:

    Already, there are cries of concern that if the case disintegrates, it will destroy the credibility of rape victims or immigrants, while powerful abusers will go free. That’s the wrong conclusion. The unraveling of the Strauss-Kahn prosecution is a victory for justice, because investigators found ways to check the accuser’s credibility. Other accusers will pass such tests. This one didn’t. What the collapse of this case proves is that it’s possible to distinguish true rape accusations from false ones—and that the government, having staked its reputation on an accuser’s credibility, diligently investigated her and disclosed her lies. The system worked.

    The system doesn’t always work, particularly for those (not just the “poor” but also the middle-class) who cannot afford investigators, or in prosecutor’s offices where winning is the primary goal.

    But based upon what we know now, both the rights of an alleged crime victim and the rights of the accused were treated seriously by the state and subjected to the best evidence available at the time.  What’s wrong with that?


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    Viator | July 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    “The scene she (Tristane Banon) recounts is imaginary,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn said, two months before being arrested in New York. “Do you see me throwing a woman on the floor and being violent, as she claims it?”

    “Dominique Strauss-Kahn will face another complaint alleging attempted rape, this one in France, the lawyer for a French novelist Tristane Banon, 32, announced Monday in Paris.”

    NY Times

    “I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me.” Dominique Strauss-Kahn

    Carol Herman | July 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Just about everything.

    The french authorities didn’t even want to add Ms. Banon’s tale to the nitwits in Manhattan, who were using all their resources to destroy the maid’s story. Without ever once looking at the evidence in the room!

    So, now? The story will shift to Paris.

    dad29 | July 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Quoting a portion of my prior comment . . . [ “if there is a possible basis for criticizing Vance, it would be for lack of pressing for an adequate or thorough investigation prior to seeking the indictment.” ]

    you said, in part:

    “Oh, please.

    The perp was on the airplane, ready to leave the country.
    . . . .

    Obviously, you completely missed my point. I was not criticizing the necessity of making a quick arrest, nor the detention.

    I was talking about the quick indictment.

    Immediately following the portion you quoted, I specifically added, in my comment:

    “His arrest and detention, pending indictment was certainly necessary, as he had already demonstrated a willingness to leave the country.

    But as we learn more, it may emerge that the quick indictment may have been a little too quick. Strauss-Kahn’s legal team are not going to publicly criticize Vance now . . . but in the long run they may have some things to say about the way he handled the case.”

    Comments made above by JEBurke and Clarice add further insight into the general process issue, including noting the Vance decision to take the case away from the Sex Crimes Unit and to seek the quick indictment.

    Some of the information regarding that was examined in a recent article in the New York Times.

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