DSK Gets Ready to Fight Back
Solomon, John, Newsweek
Byline: John Solomon
Scouring alleged victim's past, defense investigators plot focus on her financial motive.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his defense team have been conspicuously silent since he was accused of sexual assault this spring. But NEWSWEEK has learned that his high-powered lawyers and private detectives have been scouring the evidence to discredit the accuser's account and unearth clues suggesting a financial motive in a case that pits one of the world's most powerful men against an immigrant hotel housekeeper.
The behind-the-scenes work will allow the defense--if the case moves forward in either criminal or civil court--to offer an alternate storyline of what happened in Sofitel Hotel suite 2806 on May 14 this year. Whatever theory is offered is certain to inflame an already explosive case that has gripped the continents of North America, Europe, and Africa.
It has been expected that Strauss-Kahn's team would attempt to portray the incident as a consensual encounter. Now sources familiar with Strauss-Kahn's case, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say the defense might suggest that the encounter went bad when housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo discovered she wouldn't receive any money after performing oral sex with the powerful Frenchman. Strauss-Kahn's team may also try to portray Diallo, 32, as an "earner," who tried to pick up cash and gifts to supplement her $40,000 housekeeper's salary, creating a financial motive to interpret some of the evidence in a new light.
Strauss-Kahn's defense team--including private detectives from the respected Guidepost Solutions firm--has been interviewing witnesses in New York's West African community to develop a portrait of a woman who was willing to do what it took to stay in the United States and make money to support herself and her 15-year-old daughter.
The Manhattan district attorney's office is expected to inform a court on Aug. 23 whether a criminal trial will proceed or if the charges will be dropped. Diallo's lawyers, meanwhile, have opened the door for the defense team to go on the offensive next month in a Bronx civil court, where Diallo has filed a lawsuit accusing Strauss-Kahn of a "violent and sadistic" attack.
One key question will be why Diallo returned to the suite after Strauss-Kahn had checked out. …