Criminal Justice

IMF Chief May Claim Any Sex Was Consensual; Hotel Key Card Records Are Likely Evidence


Updated: The chief of the International Monetary Fund may claim consent as a defense to accusations that he sexually assaulted a maid at the Sofitel Hotel in New York.

A person briefed on the case tells the New York Times the defense lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn believe any sex act may have been consensual. The story cites more evidence of the possible defense: In court on Monday, lawyer Benjamin Brafman told the judge he believed the “forensic evidence” was “not consistent with forcible encounter.” He did not elaborate.

The maid, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea who was granted asylum, maintains there was no consent, according to her lawyer, Jeffrey Shapiro. “She was assaulted and she had to escape from him,” he told the Times.

Hotel key cards could provide evidence in the case, the New York Times reports in a separate story. Police have said the maid knocked on Strauss-Kahn’s door and called out, used her master keycard to open the door, and left her work cart in the doorway, a typical safety practice in hotels. According to the police account, Strauss-Kahn emerged naked, tried to attack the maid, and then shut the hotel door when she tried to escape.

The Times explains how the key card evidence may play out: “If the defense for Mr. Strauss-Kahn maintains that the encounter was consensual, its version will have to accommodate the unambiguous computer record of her leaving the door propped open,” the story says. “It will also have to explain how and when she decided that sex with Mr. Strauss-Kahn was a better use of her time than changing the linens.”

Updated May 19: Strauss-Kahn has been indicted on charges of a criminal sexual act, attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. He was granted bail of $1 million on Thursday provided that he submit to 24-hour home detention monitoring, pay for an armed guard and post a $5 million insurance bond.

Related articles:

ABAJournal.com: “Strauss-Kahn Formally Charged with Criminal Sex Acts, Granted $1M Bail”

ABAJournal.com: “IMF Head’s Lawyers Say He Was at Restaurant During Alleged Attack on Maid”

ABAJournal.com: “IMF Chief, Accused of Sexually Assaulting Maid, Represented by Lawyer for Michael Jackson”

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