Sunday, July 10, 2011

DSK case might be ridden with lies, but it's the facts that matter in the end

Sunday, July 10th 2011, 4:00 AM

Kenneth Thompson, attorney for DSK, was also a prosecutor in 1997's Abner Louima case.
Don Emmert/Getty
Kenneth Thompson, attorney for DSK, was also a prosecutor in 1997's Abner Louima case.

DSK case crumbles

Who do you think is really at fault in the DSK case?

The prosecutors in Brooklyn could have just walked away from the Abner Louima case just as the prosecutors in Manhattan are considering walking away from the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case.

Louima told lies that were at least as serious as those told by the hotel maid who alleges that Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her.

The maid has admitted to lying on her application for political asylum and about personal finances and a prior sexual assault in her native Guinea.

Louima lied about an aspect of the 1997 sexual assault itself, telling investigators and prosecutors that a cop who brutalized him in a precinct bathroom said, "It's Giuliani time."

When his account was questioned, Louima said that the phrase had actually been uttered by one of the cops who initially arrested him outside a nightclub.

Louima also admitted he lied about who had been with him. And he repeated the lies to a grand jury.

After the lies came to light, the lawyer for lead defendant Justin Volpe called for the case to be dropped because Louima was no longer credible.

"If he lied under oath, it would be incumbent upon the DA's office to dismiss the indictments," attorney Marvyn Kornberg said. "How does the district attorney justify not indicting Mr. Louima for perjury?"

Kornberg noted that Louima had since filed a huge lawsuit.

"If Mr. Louima would lie when he has no reason to lie, could you imagine what he would do to collect $450 million?" Kornberg asked.

The sum surely topped whatever the maid in the Strauss-Kahn case contemplated in the recorded phone conversation where she reportedly told a male friend in an immigration jail that Strauss-Kahn has "a lot of money."

The prosecutors in the Louima case took the position that the essential facts and evidence had not changed. They still believed Louima was a sex-crime victim. They resolved to go ahead, win or lose.

At trial, Kornberg made prominent mention of the lawsuit, saying Louima had literally millions of "reasons to curb the truth and, in fact, lie."

The cross-examination was as tough as the prosecutors expected. Kornberg asked Louima why his story had changed.

"I am more peaceful now," Louima said. "I have a better chance to think."

"You were peaceful enough to commit perjury in front of the grand jury, weren't you?"

Louima said that he had made up the "Giuliani time" line on the advice of the brother-law-in of a nurse in the hospital.

"You lied under oath to the grand jury, didn't you?" Kornberg asked.

"Yes," Louima said.

But the prosecution pressed on with the unchanged facts and evidence - and the case was so devastating that Volpe changed his plea to guilty.

One of the lead prosecutors, Kenneth Thompson, is now in private practice and represents the maid from the Strauss-Kahn case. He stood outside the Manhattan courthouse after revelations of her lies led to Strauss-Kahn being released from house arrest and freed without bail.

There was talk the prosecutor might drop the case altogether, even though the physical evidence and the woman's account of the actual assault were unchanged. Thompson said prosecutors had told him his client had been consistent in this regard even during the taped phone conversation with the guy in jail.

"She told this guy the same story she's been telling us from day one," Thompson said. "She's never once changed a single thing about that account."

Thompson went on to say his client feels so abandoned by the prosecutors that she will be repeating her account for us all to hear.

"She's not going to remain in hiding anymore," Thompson said. "She said, 'I'm going to stand in front of the cameras and tell the world what Dominique Strauss-Kahn did.'"

The world awaits.

mdaly@nydailynews.com

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