Strauss-Kahn’s Supporters Hint That Political Opponents Had Role in Sexual-Assault Case

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Photo: Emannuel Dunand-Pool/Getty Images

While the French press weighs the country's curtain of privacy shielding public figures with its failure to aggressively report on Dominque Strauss-Kahn's sexual history, supporters are raising questions about how big a role Strauss-Kahn's opponents played in the scandal. Up until the charges, the IMF chief was predicted to have the best chance of beating Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's elections. Now allies point to the timing of Twitter posts around the charges. Before any New York newspaper, a French student and member of Sarkozy's center-right party tweeted, “A friend in the United States just told me that DSK was arrested by police in a hotel an hour ago.” Less than half an hour later, Arnaud Dassier, who ran Sarkozy's online election campaign in 2007, also posted, spreading the news.

Dassier also happens to be a shareholder in Atlantico.fr, a website that Strauss-Kahn’s supporters accused of disseminating photographs of the Socialist party candidate and his wife getting into a luxury vehicle, leading to "Porschegate." Yesterday, the site published alleged police reports saying Strauss-Kahn had scratches on his back and left traces of DNA behind.

Differences between the American and French criminal justice systems seem to be at the heart of the outrage. Where the NYPD treated Strauss-Kahn, who is awaiting trial in Rikers, to the standard police perp walk, France outlaws photos of defendants in handcuffs until proven guilty, going as far as policing footage of him in handcuffs on French TV stations. Says the New York Times,


"The images struck several commentators as being more akin to scenes from American television crime dramas — dubbed versions enjoy tremendous popularity in France, among them “C.S.I.,” known as “Les Experts,” and “Law and Order,” known as “New York Police Judiciaire” — than from French life. "

But French objections appear to focus on the handling of the case, not the charges themselves. As Bradley D. Simon, a former federal prosecutor told the Times, “The only way there can be a setup in the first place is that there is an acknowledgement that he is predisposed to such actions.” The victim's brother, for one, is thankful that New York officials are willing to go after even a powerful political figure for allegedly sexually assaulting his sister, a Senegalese immigrant with a 9-year-old daughter. The brother, whose name was withheld, told theNew York Daily News, "This is America — he won't get away with it. Justice will be served. That's why we love America."

As Case Unfolds, France Speculates and Steams [NYT]
IMF chief claims consent in hotel 'attack' [NYP]
Questions Raised About a Code of Silence [NYT]
Judge Jails IMF Chief in Sexual-Assault Case [WSJ]
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, busted for sexual assault, 'won't get away with it,' brother of accuser says [NYDN]
Earlier: Letter From Paris: A Gallic Shrug for DSK