Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Denies Rape Charges with the "Greatest Possible Firmness"

Sometimes there is truth even in the most fervent denials. Here is the text of the letter of resignation from Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn to the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board:

It is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the Executive Board my resignation from my post of Managing Director of the IMF.

I think at this time first of my wife — whom I love more than anything — of my children, of my family, of my friends.

I think also of my colleagues at the Fund; together we have accomplished such great things over the last three years and more.

To all, I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me.

I want to protect this institution which I have served with honor and devotion, and especially — especially — I want to devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Well, I can certainly believe Dominique will be devoting all his strength, time, and energy to proving his innocence. Given that he is being held without bail on Rikers Island in NYC on rape charges, he does not have much else to do.

Does he really deny the charges? "I want to say that I deny" is how his denial begins. Of course we wants to deny them, but is he actually denying them? Not quite maybe. Then he uses the phrase "with the greatest possible firmness". Not just "firmness" in the face of rape charges but the "greatest possible firmness".

At this point the allegations - seven crimes including attempted rape, sexual abuse, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment against a 32-year-old hotel maid by the 62-year-old Frenchman - have not been proved in court.

Ordinarily that would mean that Mr. Strauss-Kahn would be entitled to bail, so that he could be free during the period before trial. But he was arrested at the airport waiting for a flight to France after he called the hotel to see if they had found his missing cell phone.

France has become a haven for fugitive U.S. criminals like filmmaker Roman Polanski, who was convicted of rape, and Ira Einhorn, the Unicorn Killer, who was extradited back to the U.S. only after protracted legal proceedings. With no assurance of extradition from France if Mr. Strauss-Kahn flees, NY Judge Melissa Jackson is quite sensibly not granting bail just yet. Talk about your Catch-22 situations.

IMF officials have limited diplomatic immunity that covers actions taken in the course of official duties. So if Strauss-Kahn had been attempting to rape a country, as IMF bankers are often accused of doing, he could not be prosecuted. But, alas for him, he is charged with attempting to rape a mere person, for which he has no immunity.

Speaking of no immunity, the New York Post has reported that the woman Strauss-Kahn is accused of sexual assaulting may be HIV positive, as it says she has been living in apartments reserved for people with HIV/AIDS. Those reports have been denied by the woman's lawyer, and could just be one of those not quite legal sublet situations, but must give Strauss-Kahn something to think about in solitary confinement if he is even a little bit guilty as charged. That is where the "infinite sadness" may come in.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a prominent politician in France, and had been thought to be the Socialist Party's next candidate for President of France. Supporters in France have expressed shock at seeing video of Strauss-Kahn in handcuffs. Others in France, we suspect, think it is about time.

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