As a reporter who’s covered my share of perp walks, I kind of enjoyed watching 62-year-old Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn shackled and haggard-looking being led away to the hoosegow.
DSK, as he has been labeled, got his moment in the American justice system sun, where in the public eye, he was guilty-looking enough to hang for allegedly raping an immigrant chamber maid in his plush hotel room.
The man, though, is no dumb alleged criminal. He hired the best attorneys and private investigators that money can buy, who seemingly scraped even the dirt from beneath the maid’s fingernails to prove she’s not a credible victim.
For instance, they found she lied to immigration authorities to stay in this country. She told them she needed asylum because she was raped and sexually molested in her native Guinea. They dug up phone calls she made to alleged drug dealers and alleged she spoke to others on how she planned on having a big payday in suing DSK.
Now there is lying and there is lying. In my book, lying to immigration authorities is practically a “rite of passage” to stay here in this country. I suspect even my beloved great-grandparents may have told a stretcher or two when they arrived from Poland in 1906.
As for trying to make a few dollars off DSK who allegedly raped her – hey, this is America. If you’re a rich criminal, you may not do much time, but you sure as hell have to pay the victim a fine.
But DSK is no ordinary Frenchman. He’s the former head of the IMF and was being touted as the next French president. As such, he counted Rupert Murdoch and Mayor Bloombucks among his friends.
So there was the New York Post declaring in headlines (and not even allegedly) that the victim was a prostitute.
Then there was Bloomberg declaring (for the first time) his opposition to perp walks. City Councilman David Greenfield followed this with introducing a law against perp walks.
Yet, nobody gave this cry when Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise – then between the ages of 14-16 – did their perp walk on the Post’s front page for “wilding” and raping a woman in Central Park. All did hard time for the crime they didn’t commit, and were exonerated in 2002 when DNA evidence turned up that they were innocent.
Where was the cry against perp walks then? But I digress.
It seemed about a week ago that DSK had it all worked out. It appeared he was on the verge of having the Manhattan District Attorney drop the charges after the maid and alleged victim was all but painted into the perpetrator.
But the maid pulled an “end around” and hired her own slick attorney, Ken Thompson, who is suing the Post for slander and demanding the DA take the case or hand it off to a special prosecutor.
“Justice requires no less,” he told reporters. “The truth is she was sexually assaulted in that room, and the truth matters.”
As for Murdoch and Bloomberg, I am reminded of the nursery rhyme:
All the king’s horses
and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty-Dumpty
back togther again.
So grab a ringside seat to the media circus and let the criminal trial begin!