Thursday, July 28, 2011


Nafissatou Diallo has given to Newsweek magazine a detailed account of her allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault. "How unseemly" her critics cry. They claim it to be a crude and shameful way of pressuring the prosecutors to not drop the case. Duh! No shit, Sherlock. Her motive certainly wasn't to increase the sale of Corn Flakes. She reads constant reports of the Prosecution's increasing skepticism of her story. To be sure, there are discrepancies in her multiple accounts, but these are tangential to the crux of her claim,i,e, sexual assault. Her step-by-step account of being attacked smacks intrinsically of truth. And the fact that she is knowingly giving defense attorneys pennies from heaven for cross-examination purposes is inconsistent with speaking falsely. An alleged victim's norm is to publicly say nothing prior to trial. Her statements given to police are automatically turned over to defense counsel. They digest each syllable for inconsistencies in preparing their attack on the alleged victim, who must surely testify in her own behalf. She must not veer from that script. She has now repeated her allegations to the public, restricting, if not obviating any wiggle room on the stand. Her trial testimony in now etched in stone. She must be consistent in the face of having provided defense counsel with golden ammunition for cross-examination. Why has she taken this unnecessary step which gifts the defense with unexpected ammo? Because she is not afraid. And she is not afraid because she believes she is telling the truth.

I advise my Law School students that if a witness is telling the truth, the most grueling cross-examination cannot demolish the core of the testimony. Of course, some tangential details may be undermined. but the essence of truthful testimony survives the battle, standing strong.

This case is ready to be tried. A prosecutorial dismissal of charges would acknowledge either immense political pressure or a lack of cojones, or both.

This type of alleged misconduct does not usually confine itself to a single aberration. And, to be sure, there have come forward other similar allegations against Strauss-Kahn. The judge will determine the admissibility of these "similar bad acts."

The battle lines are joined. I opine that the criminal justice system, still reeling from the Casey Anthony debacle, will best be served by letting a jury (oy! it's Valium time) decide the case--the sooner the better.

Remember that before charges were formally filed, Ms. Diallo was intensively and exhaustingly examined for credibility purposes. She must have passed that test. Her acknowledged intent to sue Strauss-Kahn civilly can surely be brought up by defense counsel to show motive to lie, but a person who embraces the obvious is not afraid and, more often than not, makes a very formidable witness.


 Like Prego spaghetti sauce. name an element of a good trial---and "it's in there."

This case may resuscitate the jury system. The truth may, ultimately, be spoken.
With competent counsel on both sides, this could be a barn burner.

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