1 février 2023

DSK : Police Seek Evidence

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

ON NYT : " Dominique Strauss-Kahn, center, left a New York Police Department precinct for Manhattan Criminal Court late Sunday.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the leader of the International Monetary Fund, spent most of Sunday at the Manhattan Special Victims Unit in East Harlem as prosecutors sought additional evidence, including possible DNA evidence on his skin or beneath his fingernails, to bolster allegations that he had sexually assaulted a maid in a $3,000-a-night suite at a Midtown hotel, officials said.


Shortly before 11 p.m., Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 62, wearing a black jacket and pants and a gray shirt, and looking haggard, was taken from the Special Victims Unit, near the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge, in handcuffs.

About an hour before that, his lawyers, William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman, emerged from Manhattan Criminal Court in Lower Manhattan and announced that Mr. Strauss-Kahn had agreed to “a scientific forensic examination tonight.” Mr. Taylor, who described his client as “tired but fine,” provided no other details but said that Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arraignment would not take place until Monday, nearly 48 hours after he was taken off an Air France plane at Kennedy International Airport just as it was to take off for Paris on Saturday afternoon.

The long wait for Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arraignment unfolded as an international corps of reporters, photographers and camera crews were deployed both in East Harlem and at Criminal Court. Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s accuser picked him out of a lineup and new details emerged on how he came to be taken into custody.

The authorities said they had moved to obtain a court order granting them a search warrant to examine Mr. Strauss-Kahn for signs of injury that he might have suffered during a struggle or for traces of his accuser’s DNA.

“Things like getting things from under the fingernails,” a law enforcement official explained, “the classic things you get in association with a sex assault.”

 The official, who insisted on anonymity because the investigation was continuing, added that since the authorities believed there was a high likelihood that Mr. Strauss-Kahn would be allowed to post bail, investigators feared that he might leave the country with whatever clues his person might yield.

As the court order was being sought, the woman who told the police on Saturday that she had been attacked by Mr. Strauss-Kahn identified him in the lineup, the police said. 

After identifying Mr. Strauss-Kahn about 4:30 p.m., the woman, a maid at the Sofitel New York on West 44th Street, where Mr. Strauss-Kahn was a guest, left the Special Victims Unit in a police van. A blanket was covering her head.

The police were called to the hotel about 1:30 on Saturday, but when they arrived, Mr. Strauss-Kahn had already checked out. At some point, Mr. Strauss-Kahn called the hotel and said that his cellphone was missing. Police detectives then coached hotel employees to tell him, falsely, that they had the telephone, according to the law enforcement official. Mr. Strauss-Kahn said he was at Kennedy Airport and about to get on a plane.

The police have provided few details about the woman at the center of the case beyond saying she was 32 and an African immigrant.

According to the law enforcement official, the woman entered Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite early Saturday afternoon by saying “housekeeping.” She heard no answer and believed that the suite was unoccupied. She left the door open behind her, as is hotel policy.

She went to the bedroom and a naked man rushed from the bathroom to the bedroom. She apologized, the law enforcement official said, and tried to leave.

But according to the official, the man chased her, grabbed her and shut the door, locking it. He then pulled her toward the bedroom, the official said, and tried to attack her there.

He dragged her to the bathroom, the official added, and forced her to perform oral sex. The police said the woman eventually escaped from the suite and reported the attack to other hotel personnel, who called 911.

The woman lives in the Bronx with a daughter who is in her teens. The building’s superintendent said she moved in a few months ago.

“They’re good people,” said one neighbor, another African immigrant. “Every time I see her I’m happy because we’re both from Africa. She’s never given a problem for nobody. Never noisy. Everything nice.”

At the Sofitel New York, a maid, who refused to give her name, described the woman as friendly. “In the world, she is a good person,” she said.

The maid added that her superiors had asked other hotel employees not to question the woman about what happened.

“The office said, ‘Don’t ask too much because she is sad,’ ” the maid said. “Just give her a hug when she comes back.” 

A guest at the hotel, Mortem Meier, 36, a sales director visiting from Norway, said the livery driver who drove Mr. Strauss-Kahn to Kennedy Airport was also his driver on Saturday night.

“He said Strauss-Kahn was in a huge hurry,” Mr. Meier recalled. “He wanted to leave as soon as possible. He looked upset and stressed, the driver said.”

At Criminal Court downtown on Sunday, crowds of reporters kept watch throughout the day for Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arraignment, sitting through dozens of more prosaic cases involving offenses like subway fare jumping, marijuana possession and, in one instance, charges of possession of a stun gun

Journalists began arriving at the courthouse in the morning and their numbers increased as the day went on.  By the time the night court session broke for dinner at 9, more than 60 reporters — many working for French newspapers, television stations and wire services — had assembled and were taking up most of the space on the long wooden benches that lined the rear of the courtroom.

Ira Judelson, a bail bondsman involved in the case, said earlier in the day that a comprehensive bail package would establish specifics of where Mr. Strauss-Kahn would stay as the case proceeded. He added that the bail amount could be in the millions of dollars.

Mr. Brafman, a prominent New York criminal lawyer, has represented the hip-hop impresario Sean Combs, the Manhattan jeweler Jacob Arabov and Plaxico Burress, the New York Giants wide receiver.

Reporting was contributed by Al Baker, John Eligon, Joseph Goldstein, Colin Moynihan, William K. Rashbaum, Nate Schweber and Rebecca White.



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