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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
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Ex-IMF Chief Spars With DA Over Police Leaks to Media

MANHATTAN (CN) - As the New York City Police Department seemingly leaks evidence in the attempted rape case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, lawyers for the former International Monetary Fund chief hinted they have information that "gravely" undermines the credibility of the alleged victim, a maid at the Sofitel Hotel.

On Wednesday, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers William Taylor III and Benjamin Branfman wrote the district attorney, complaining that "in recent days, various news outlets citing 'confidential police sources' have published what are claimed to be 'scientific tests' performed by the New York Police Department."

The letter goes on to make a veiled threat.

"[W]ere we intent on improperly feeding the media frenzy, we could now release substantial information that in our view would seriously undermine the quality of this prosecution and also gravely undermine the credibility of the complainant in this case," Strauss-Kahn's lawyers wrote.

As evidence of their leak claims against the NYPD, the lawyers cite how The New York Times recently reported that a "source" revealed that Strauss-Kahn's DNA was found on his accuser's clothing.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said that "perhaps the most inappropriate leak" involved an interactive New York Times feature called "Recreating an Encounter," which the lawyers describe as "a step-by-step narrative of how the alleged victim claims the criminal acts unfolded, including various diagrams which purported to lay out the criminal assault charged in the indictment."

Published on May 22, it attributes all of the information to NYPD's chief spokesman Paul J. Brown.

They say these leaks will taint the jury pool and often involve information that would not be admissible at trial.

"We can cite to dozens of other prejudicial articles and news stories that have appeared in recent days in which confidential police sources have provided a wide array of prejudicial information about Mr. Strauss-Kahn, including information which even if true, would never be admissible in any court," the letter states.

Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbin replied the same day, "We share in your concern that the case be judged on the merits of the evidence presented in a courtroom, and not on media reports or speculation, and we will continue to adhere to that principle here as we do in every case."

She added that the DA warned the NYPD not to leak information before receiving their letter and "urge[d] them to take aggressive action to prevent any damage to the legal process."

But she bristled at the suggestion that defense attorneys had "gravely" damaging information about the maid.

"[W]e were troubled that you chose to inject into the public record your claim that you possess information that might negatively impact the case and 'gravely' undermine the credibility of the victim," Illuzzi-Orbin wrote. "We are aware of no such information."

She added that they should disclose the evidence, if they have it.

"To reiterate what we have told you orally, if there is anything you would like us to investigate regarding any aspect of this case, please bring it to our attention and we will gladly do so," the letter states. If you really do possess the kind of information you suggest that you do, we trust you will forward it immediately to the District Attorney's Office."

The next court date for Strauss-Kahn, who is currently confined to house arrest on $1 million bail, is June 6.

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