DSK case vindicates American system of justice

The Dominique Strauss-Kahn drama will no doubt give many in France immense pleasure that the American legal system has met its comeuppance with a case that has completely unraveled against their French lothario. It appears all charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn will be dropped.

Even at its inception, this case was headed for the klieg lights with the pursuit of justice taking a back seat to the pursuit of publicity. It appeared that the prosecutor in the case, Cyrus Vance, seized this sordid occurrence as an opportunity to advance himself on the international stage. Not only did Mr. Vance claim, prematurely, that he had a solid case against Mr. Strauss Kahn, but he also argued with the judge assigned to the case that the head of the International Monetary Fund was a flight risk, similar to Roman Polanski, and should be incarcerated without bail.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn was jailed on Rikers Island, manacled, paraded before the public, his past dissected by pundits and his character impugned and assassinated by American commentators before he was placed under house arrest. He also had to make the heavy bail that was imposed on him. Residents of a posh apartment complex in the Upper East side of Manhattan where his wife had rented digs wouldn't have a sex offender in their midst, and the hysteria grew shrill as new quarters had to be hunted down.

But it didn't take long for the victim in this rape case to arrive at the same point as Mr. Strauss Kahn. The hotel maid, formerly fromGuinea, underwent a systematic raid on her closet of skeletons and stood accused of being an unreliable and lying witness. Apparently, she cheated the IRS, lied on various applications for government assistance, and changed her story about a gang rape she claimed happened to her in Guinea.

There are those who have taken up for the hotel maid most vigorously. These advocates for rape victims are appalled that Mr. Strauss-Kahn will not meet his Waterloo right here and rot in jail for what he did. Then there are those who have argued that the law should prevail and Mr. Strauss-Kahn is innocent until proven guilty.

Despite its many twists and turns and flaws, this case may be a vindication of the American justice system. The process took its course and evolved to show it cannot be taken for granted or abused. The presumptuous prosecutors in the case had to accede they had jumped to conclusions and further investigations did not support their initial certainties. The hotel maid now has to acknowledge that lying to investigators does not solidify her serious charge of rape. And Mr. Strauss-Kahn, the major player in this show, has to acknowledge that even the rich and the powerful had better not tempt the American legal system. He has paid dearly for his behavior.

Hopefully, Mr. Strauss Kahn's lesson will resonate with the many playboys who visit this country for whom every hotel maid is fair game.

Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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