March 30, 2013

Adieu to Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Anne Sinclair

Filed under: world news by Victoria Liberty @ 10:51 pm
Photo credit: Le Parisien

Photo credit: Olivier Corsan / Le Parisien

For almost two years I have been a defender and supporter of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Anne Sinclair. I have written quite a few blog posts praising their relationship and taking their side in the various legal trials and tribulations that they have faced. So with the news of their recent divorce, I think it fitting that I share my thoughts on their relationship and its tragic end.

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December 15, 2012

DSK-Diallo settlement: the end of a nightmare

Filed under: world news by Victoria Liberty @ 3:40 pm

AM2010Plenary_2_DSK

Photo via International Monetary Fund

On Monday, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s legal troubles in the USA came to an end. But this was not exactly the conclusion I had imagined. On July 1, 2011, when it was first reported that the criminal case against him was falling apart, it appeared that the story would turn out as a victory for defendants’ rights and true gender equality over media bias, presumption of guilt, and the sexist stereotype that all men are sexual aggressors and all women are victims. Unlike those who were convinced of Strauss-Kahn’s guilt merely because he was a man who was accused of rape, his wife, Anne Sinclair, showed that she was a true feminist by coming to his rescue, bailing him out of jail, financially supporting him, and fiercely defending him against his innumerable and vocal critics. It was truly a wonderful moment when they strode out of the courthouse, smiling slightly, his arm around her shoulders, when he was set free without bail.

But the victory was short-lived. Even before the sexual assault charges against him were officially dismissed in August of last year, public opinion, which had swung briefly in Strauss-Kahn’s direction when his accuser’s lies and inconsistencies first came to light, began to turn against him once more. Journalists and editorialists around the world vilified and shamed him for his reputation as a libertine. Self-professed “feminists” held up signs outside the courthouse to protest the dismissal of the charges. Instead of being welcomed back into French politics – and perhaps even the presidential race which in he had intended to be a candidate – he was shunned and bullied by his former allies. A French court decided to essentially convict him, with no evidence, on a writer’s decade-old allegation of sexual assault. Another French court decided to hit him with criminal charges for “aggravated pimping” despite the fact that there has never been any suggestion that he made money from prostitution. When he gave a speech about the global economy in Cambridge, England, hordes heckled him and threw things at him. And, worst of all, Sinclair went back on everything that she had so bravely stood for earlier, deciding to dump him and kick him out of the Paris apartment that was his home.

Monday’s settlement in the civil case between Strauss-Kahn and his accuser, former hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, was far from the triumphant conclusion I had envisioned, but it was not entirely negative either. Although Strauss-Kahn still has the “pimping” charges hanging over his head (this Wednesday he’ll learn whether they will be dismissed), he must feel relieved to no longer have to worry about the New York case, or the pricey legal fees that it doubtless entailed. Against the odds, he is making a comeback as an economic advisor, having recently founded a consulting company called “Parnasse” and spoken at conferences in UkraineMoroccoSouth Korea, and Israel. He has a beautiful new apartment, which he showed off in a recent interview with Le Point. And he possibly has a new girlfriend, the communications director for France TV, Myriam L’Aouffir.

Was the settlement a just outcome? Here are a few thoughts that I have.

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September 20, 2012

DSK’s idea to save the euro

Filed under: world news by Victoria Liberty @ 6:16 pm

YES © 2012. Photographed by Sergei Illin, Aleksandr Indychii.

Finally some good news for Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The former boss of the International Monetary Fund spoke at the Yalta European Strategy conference and got the opportunity to explain his idea to save the euro:

Strauss-Kahn explained to the distinguished gathering that since the beginning of the euro zone crisis, the debt of the sturdiest economies, like Germany and France, has become more and more sought after. Investors’ “flight to quality” is leaving the most fragile countries deeper in debt and paying higher and higher interest rates.

“If we continue like this, the system will collapse,” said DSK. He suggests that the countries with higher ratings, like Germany, “put back into the pot part of their interest rate spread” to help countries like Spain or Italy.

Harvard professor Niall Ferguson and former World Bank president Robert Zoellick reportedly agreed with DSK’s idea.

Read the rest at World Crunch (via Les Echos).

May 23, 2012

Hollande’s cabinet

Filed under: world news by Victoria Liberty @ 7:42 am

François Hollande - Janvier 2012

Last week, Francois Hollande, the new President of France, announced who he would be appointing to various ministerial positions in his government.

Among his new cabinet members are traitor Pierre Moscovici (Finance Minister), who was Hollande’s campaign manager and used to be a supporter of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, before throwing him under the bus when he became politically unpopular, as well as Aurelie Filippetti (Culture and Communications Minister), who once accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual harassment.

But more notable, in my opinion, is Hollande’s appointment of two ministers who have either been accused or convicted of serious crimes.

Laurent Fabius (Foreign Minister) served as Prime Minister in the 1980s and, according to the BBC, faced “accusations that his government had knowingly distributed blood products contaminated with HIV, one of the biggest public health scandals in French history. He was cleared of manslaughter in 1999.”

Additionally, according to the Telegraph, Jean-Marc Ayrault (Prime Minister) was convicted of favoritism in awarding a local government contract in 1997. Although the conviction was officially expunged from the record in 2007, he served a 6-month sentence and paid a 30,000 franc fine.

Considering the way Hollande has treated Strauss-Kahn (who has been fighting against criminal investigations, but has consistently maintained his innocence and has not been convicted of anything), it is hypocritical for him to give important government roles to people who have been accused, let alone convicted, of crimes. Hollande once said, “There are rules and principles. Dominique Strauss-Kahn will not be in a government I pick.” More recently, he made nasty comments about Strauss-Kahn when the latter had the audacity to attend a birthday party that he was invited to.

Additionally, Hollande said during the campaign that he would never appoint anyone who has been “tried and convicted” and told people to “remind me of this statement if I fail to keep my word.”

It looks like Hollande failed to keep his word, and it looks like his “rules and principles” apply only to DSK.

May 15, 2012

DSK files civil lawsuit against Diallo

Filed under: law & crime by Victoria Liberty @ 11:58 pm

As soon as I finish a blog post about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a pretty significant new development happens. On Monday, as first reported by the New York Post, the man who arguably should be the new president of France filed a civil suit against Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused him of attempted rape and sexual assault.

A year to the day after his shocking arrest and tragic fall from grace, it looks like DSK is seeking justice. He’s asking for $1 million for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, false imprisonment, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Good for him.

According to AFP, DSK’s lawyer, William Taylor, said that Diallo “is directly responsible for his being arrested, imprisoned, and subjected to extraordinary pain, anguish, and expense. He is not required to simply endure what she did and her effort to profit for herself without fighting back.”

In his complaint, filed in the Bronx Supreme Court, DSK calls Diallo’s account a “malicious and wanton false allegation.” As a result of this false allegation, according to the complaint, he lost his job as head of the International Monetary Fund and missed out on other professional opportunities, suffered “grievous harm to his personal and professional reputation,” was “subjected to a degrading and humiliating strip search; photographed naked; and forced to provide penal swabs as part of a forensic examination,” and finally, was “paraded in front of international media in handcuffs as part of a ‘perp walk’ intended to humiliate him, even though he committed no crime.”

I am appalled by the way the New York Police Department and Manhattan D.A.’s office treated Strauss-Kahn (at least before they changed their tune and dropped the charges against him due to lack of evidence). As far as I’m concerned, if anyone was sexually assaulted in this case, it was DSK. It is difficult to believe that an office that prosecutes people for (alleged) sexual assaults can itself inflict what is described above on a person that it is prosecuting. Yes, these invasive and degrading searches might be useful in gathering evidence, but they equal sexual assault, and it is never, ever acceptable to sexually assault someone.

Strauss-Kahn will never be able to fully undo the damage that was done to him as a result of Diallo’s accusations and law enforcement’s response. But I hope that with this lawsuit, he might be able to obtain some semblance of justice. Even if his lawsuit doesn’t succeed in court, I admire that in addition to seeking justice for himself, DSK is also, in a way, taking a stand for defendants’ rights, human dignity, and freedom.

5/16 update: Thanks to David Bookstaver and Arlene Hackel of the NY courts communications office, you can read the document filed by DSK here:

Defendant Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s Answer and Counterclaims (PDF)

For reference, here is Diallo’s original civil complaint against DSK, filed last August.

Strauss-Kahn, Hollande, and the sad state of French politics

Filed under: world news by Victoria Liberty @ 7:13 am

Socialist rally Zenith 2007 05 29 n4 François Hollande - Journées de Nantes

Since Francois Hollande will be sworn in as France’s new president today, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arraigned in a New York courtroom one year ago tomorrow, I figured this was a good time to give my opinion on the French election. Or more specifically, my opinion about how French politicians have reacted to the trials and tribulations of Strauss-Kahn, the former frontrunner for the presidency.

Naturally, DSK’s political enemies have mercilessly bashed him. When he gave an interview about the sexual assault case that he faced last year, soon-to-be former president Nicolas Sarkozy of the center-right UMP party said that DSK “should have the decency to shut up. The fact that he dares to speak shows that he does not get it.” The horror! God forbid that an unpopular person be allowed to speak. I guess Sarkozy does not care about freedom of expression, or about the people who might actually be interested in what Strauss-Kahn has to say.

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April 28, 2012

News in brief: legal happenings around the world

Filed under: law & crime,world news by Victoria Liberty @ 7:53 am

This has been a busy week in various cases and trials that The Freedom Bulletin is following. I did not have time to post about all of them during the week, so here is a recap of some of the more newsworthy (in my opinion) goings-on that you may have missed:

The trial of confessed mass-killer Anders Behring Breivik continues in Norway. Last week, he described the massacre that he carried out in chilling detail, said that he would rather be executed than face the “pathetic” maximum sentence of 21 years in prison, and proclaimed that he has no regrets and “would do it again.” This week, testimony turned to a psychiatric report that called him legally insane, which Breivik strongly criticized, saying, “To a political activist, the worst thing that can happen is to end up in a mental hospital. That would delegitimise everything you stand for.” Survivors of Breivik’s bombing of a government building took the stand yesterday, and survivors of his shooting rampage will likely testify next week. Time has an interesting comparison of the Norwegian and American justice systems as shown by this trial.

Pvt. Bradley Manning had three days of court hearings this week, which unfortunately did not go very well for him. Col. Denise Lind, the military judge in his case, denied a motion to dismiss the charge of “aiding the enemy,” rejecting the argument that the multitude of classified files he shared with WikiLeaks did not harm national security. She also denied a motion to dismiss four other charges for being redundant. However, Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, did win the opportunity to access government reports about the dangerousness of the leaked documents. Manning’s court martial is scheduled for September.

An anonymous commenter tells me that Alexander Pring-Wilson‘s civil case settled on Tuesday. This case involved whether a homeowner’s insurance policy on his home should be held responsible for the damages that were awarded to the estate of Michael Colono, whom Pring-Wilson killed in a fight back in 2003 (he’s always maintained it was self-defense). This week, the insurance company agreed to pay Colono’s estate, represented by executrix Cindy Guzman. This is a case that I’ve been following for a long time, and I am glad that both Colono’s relatives and Pring-Wilson can finally put this mess behind them and move on with their lives.

Sgt. Gary Stein was officially given an “other than honorable” discharge from the armed forces for creating the Facebook group, “Armed Forces Tea Party,” and posting criticism of President Obama. He vows to appeal, and he is also launching his own radio show. After the decision, Sgt. Stein posted on Facebook, “Even though I will be discharged no one can take the title of Marine away from me… Today is just the start of the rest of my life. Semper Fi.”

Dominique Strauss-Kahn recently did an interview with Edward J. Epstein, who wrote an article in the NY Review of Books last year suggesting that the infamous attempted rape case may have been a set-up. DSK agreed with this sentiment in the interview and shared a few new thoughts and observations, which are interesting to read since he has rarely spoken publicly about the case. The interview is part of Epstein’s new book, entitled “Three Days in May.”

Lawyers for George Zimmerman disclosed that their client raised over $200,000 to help with legal bills via his (now defunct) website. Unfortunately for Zimmerman, this triggered a new dispute over bail, with prosecutors asking that his bond be increased, and a lawyer for Trayvon Martin’s family accusing him of deceiving the court by failing to disclose the sum earlier.

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