A frenchman in new york

Culture shock, humbling images and the end of a rogue manager: The affare Dominique Strauss-Kahn

France watches images that Cannes and the coarse cinema pushed aside. They show an abruptly aged man being led away by New York police officers like a Mafioso, mude though, without any residual radiation, no trace of glamour. The resignation that looked for all the world from the face of Dominique Strauss Kahn at the trial is the naked image of a reality that no narration can help to make coarse.

The nation is shocked: such a presentation of a man whose guilt has not been proven is defamatory, humiliating, rootless, it says. In addition, there is the factual argument: the local media is not allowed such a display of a suspect, not in France and not in Germany.

The shock that the pictures from the USA showed live the yearly crash of a man ("En direct, la chute d’un homme"), for whom the presumption of innocence applies, is combined with a deep-seated culture shock: "We do not belong to the same civilization."

The bluff could be boiled down to the question of whether the Americans are really as sex-obsessed as they are again demonstrating in their merciless, harsh treatment of Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Handcuffs, no bail, a cell on Rikers Island, a prison where allegedly mainly serious trap is serving time, an indictment listing sexual crimes, of a magnitude that a prison sentence of several years is to be expected.

The burden of proof

In addition, there is the astonishment, reflected in French media reports, about the quite differently weighted way of working in American court proceedings, where on the defense lies the rough burden of proof to convince the court of the client’s innocence. Dominique Strauss Kahn’s lawyer has often represented celebrities, such as Michael Jackson and Puff Daddy, he knows this legal system like no other, it is written and that he is a "Winner" is: "Brafman is known for either winning cases at trial or negotiating deals."

His strategy, as far as known so far, focuses on the timing and an alibi. The core argument: Strauss-Kahn’s rushed appearance in pictures and in testimony supporting the charges was not due to his hasty escape, but to a deadline prere caused by an appointment with his daughter – allegedly scheduled just at the time the attempted rape took place – and the afternoon flight, which he booked ahead of time, not after the incident in the hotel suite.

The initially published version, according to which the sexual assault took place in the hotel on Saturday at about 1:30 p.m. local time, was corrected by the authorities yesterday by an hour forward. A sign that not everything the prosecution puts forward in this supposedly clear-cut case is watertight? DSK’s defenders have also argued that the suspect’s call to the hotel inquiring about his forgotten cell phone would hardly have been made by someone who had committed a crime at the hotel. This at least suggests that Dominqie Strauss-Kahn really feels as innocent as he claims in court, but without clarifying what actually happened in the suite.


On the other hand, there is the testimony of the girl in the room, who also identified her aggressor and who, according to media reports, can claim the greatest credibility. The "Credibilite de la femme de chambre" was allowed to be, as one knows from innumerable court films, probably the second sow of the prosecution, which the defense wants to bend. Whether the questions about the past life and the person, who has been well protected from public access so far, will also preserve their?

Introduction: "There is no angle to this event that it could be constructed in any way as having happened by consent", the lawyer of the attacked made clear yesterday. "This is nothing but a physical, sexual attack of this man on the young woman. And not only I think that this woman is innocent, also the police of the city of New York came to the same conclusion. It is a woman without an agenda." The woman is in very bad shape according to her lawyer and relatives.

Meanwhile, the accused’s past life is already being investigated in the media. It offers, besides incidents confirming that it could be a man whose approaches to women resemble rape, as a writer now also remembers, also clues to which stories can be spun that speak of an intrigue.

Thus, according to Liberation, as early as 2009, a blog from Paris, characterized as a mixture of rumors and true revelations, described a "Fantasy" DSKs, which is said to have spread around: That he had often paid women to be at his disposal, disguised as maids, in luxury hotels for certain services. Dominique Strauss-Kahn might also have thought on Saturday that this was the game, according to the newspaper Le Parisien.

It is not possible at this stage to rule out with absolute certainty a plot, a trap that may have been set for the IMF chief and a promising candidate for the Socialist presidential nomination. In 2009, the case of a German banker at Nordbank, who was given information in his New York office that exposed him to the career-destroying suspicion that he had a penchant for illegal pornography, proved that such a thing is indeed practiced.

Elite, fascinated public and politics

Whether the trial of Dominique Strauss-Kahn will show that he is innocent, as he claims, or guilty, as the prosecution claims, based on the testimony of his victim, will not stop the earthquake waves that the affair has triggered. Only a few believe that DSK can completely clear himself of the affair. Thus, a discussion has long been developing about the public’s relationship with the elite and the elite’s relationship with the rest of the world.

There is obviously, as the Berlusconi case also shows, a correlation between powerful men and the feeling of impunity, almost as a basic equipment for the post, which is new in democracy, says the moral philosopher Michela Marzano of the University of Paris Descartes to the news magazine Nouvel Observateur. Silvio Berlusconi was also constantly talking about a conspiracy when he was accused of criminal relations with minors. As in Italy, the French citizens had let down their guard against the elite. Marzano explains this with the fascination of the elite, which has become a kind of basic attitude of public life.

For the socialists, members of the PS (Parti Socialiste), who in France are considered to be leftists, in contrast to German participants in the debate, who are almost crypto-religious about this classification, the problem is particularly acute. The pleasant thought, which a PS sympathizer expressed during a radio discussion on the subject of DSK, was that in the future, when selecting candidates, the party will care less about elite representatives and more about people who have contact with life next door.

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