Don`t drop sexual assault case against DSK: Maid`s lawyer

Last Updated: Jul 12, 2011, 14:30 PM IST

New York: The sexual assault case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn should be pursued even if the accuser`s credibility has come under doubt, the lawyer of the New York hotel maid has said, arguing that one does not have to be "Mother Teresa to be a victim of a crime."

The case against Strauss-Kahn, who was accused of forcing the 32-year-old Guinean maid to perform oral sex, has been considerably weakened after it emerged that the maid has been lying to prosecutors.

However, the maid`s lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, has argued that the issue of credibility does not mean the case should be withdrawn.

"The bottom line is this: You don`t have to be Mother Teresa to be a victim of a crime," Thompson said in an interview with The New York Post.

Strauss-Kahn`s lawyers have asked for dismissal of the charges against him, claiming that the sexual encounter between their client and the maid was consensual.

But legal experts say that the maid`s "lies" do not automatically lead to a dismissal of the charges.

"Credibility issues often exist. That doesn`t mean the prosecutor automatically drops the case," Gerald Shargel, a top criminal defence lawyer in New York was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.

"Weighing the strengths of a case is not singularly focused on credibility problems. The case is like mosaic. You have to look at everything," he added.

According to experts, while the maid has lied to prosecutors, there is still physical evidence enough to take the case to trial and let a jury decide the case.

"We have more here than we have in most sex crimes," said Assistant District Attorney Joan Iluzzi-Orbon, one of the prosecutors in the case, in a recent interview.
"The period of time that this happened is completely consistent with what she told us happened."

The maid had told prosecutors a fake story about being gang-raped and falsely claimed someone else`s child as her own to obtain a tax benefits.

"The question isn`t whether there is political support for a prosecution or whether (the accuser) is sympathetic, the question is whether she is telling the truth and that is up to the prosecutors," said William W Taylor, Strauss-Kahn`s lawyer, as quoted by The Journal.

Last week, Thompson asked Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr to be replaced with a special prosecutor.

Strauss-Kahn has also been sued for attempted rape by a French writer in his home country of France, in connection with an incident that occurred in 2003.

The former IMF chief has been released from house arrest but has to stay in the US as the investigation continues.

PTI