Thursday, July 7, 2011
DSK stands on doorstep of freedom
Defense team demands DA drop sex charges vs. frisky Frenchman
Give DSK the key to his freedom, his lawyers demanded yesterday.
The high-powered defense team for former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn met face-to-face with Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. to insist that all sex-assault charges against the onetime French presidential candidate be dismissed because his hotel-maid accuser has lost all credibility.
"The meeting with Mr. Vance and his staff was very constructive. It is important to understand that the meeting was not to discuss a plea bargain, as Dominique Strauss-Kahn will not be pleading guilty to any crime," his lawyer Ben Brafman told The Post after the roughly two-hour session with prosecutors in Vance's office at One Hogan Place.
Both sides refused to discuss the outcome of the high-level powwow in lower Manhattan, where Vance's presence underscored the case's enormous legal and political stakes. But Strauss-Kahn was beaming ear-to-ear after being briefed on the talks later by his attorneys.
As Brafman left with co-counsel William Taylor, Brafman told a throng of reporters out the building, "We appreciate all you coming down here, but there's nothing more to be said."
Vance's spokeswoman, Erin Duggan, said, "The investigative process is continuing, and no decisions have been made."
Around the time the meeting ended, Strauss-Kahn, 62, and his American-born wife, Anne Sinclair, left the TriBeCa townhouse they have been renting for $50,000 a month since just after his arrest in mid-May, and were driven to the Midtown office of Taylor's law firm, Zuckerman Spaeder.
There, they met with Brafman and Taylor before returning to the home, where, until late last week, Strauss-Kahn was under house arrest.
Strauss-Kahn said nothing to reporters.
The meeting with Vance came days after prosecutors revealed the 32-year-old maid at the Sofitel hotel had lied on her US asylum application after leaving Guinea, on her tax returns, and about her actions after Strauss-Kahn allegedly attacked her in his Midtown hotel suite on May 14.
Those revelations led a Manhattan judge last Friday to order the return of Strauss-Kahn's $1 million bail and $5 million bond, and free him from house arrest. He is now allowed to travel anywhere in the country without restriction.
Over the weekend, The Post reported allegations that the maid was collecting cash on the side from male guests for sexual favors.
Her lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, yesterday demanded that Vance withdraw from the case and appoint a special prosecutor. He accused top staffers in Vance's office -- including his chief assistant, Daniel Alonso -- of leaking "damaging" information about the maid to the media.
In a letter to the DA, which was obtained by Reuters, Thompson also complained that Vance's office refused to flat-out deny the Post stories.
The lawyer filed a defamation suit against the Post on Tuesday on behalf of Strauss-Kahn's accuser.
Duggan, the DA's spokeswoman, responded to Thompson's request for a special prosecutor by saying, "We strongly disagree with how the office and the work of the assistant district attorneys have been characterized. Any suggestion that this office should be recused is wholly without merit."