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Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the presumption of innocence

In the weeks since charges of sexual assault against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were filed, the prosecution’s case has apparently fallen on shaky ground. On Wednesday, lawyers for Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, met with prosecutors at the Manhattan district attorney’s office to discuss the future of the case against him. Strauss-Kahn’s accuser has gone from being portrayed by the media as a hardworking immigrant to a liar and a criminal. And Strauss Kahn has gone from being portrayed as a sexual predator to a victim of overzealous prosecution by both the Manhattan D.A. and the media.

Jami Floyd, former defense attorney and legal affairs journalist, finds fault with the district attorney’s hasty public comments as well as the media’s rush to judgment. Need to Know’s Maria Hinojosa talks with Floyd about the case’s twists, turns and lessons learned.

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  • whatever

    I have to agree with Ms Floyd.  I would add the Casey Anthony case to the list.  Unfortunately, the murder of a child by a parent or parental figure is not all that unique.  That said, I couldn’t believe the way the media hyped this case every morning and every night on the news.  People/strangers running to get in line to get into court?  Obscene.  We need to change the laws somehow so that trials have a little more privacy until after the verdict but are still open and transparent without all the media hype. 

  • J Silverstein

    I strongly disagree with Ms Floyd and whatever. I have 2 points. 1) Although Casey Anthony was not convicted of murder that does not make her innocent of that crime.I do not agree with the outcome, but that does not mean there should not have been a trial. A child is dead most likely murdered and we currently have no answer. 2) DSK is appears to be a serial women abuser at best. There is DNA evidence that a sexual encounter occurred within 20 minutes of the two meeting , let a trial take place and a judge and jury determine the facts.Lets see if he is a rapist as well.

  • Beth Frye

    I was disappointed with Need to Know’s limited coverage of the Strauss-Kahn discussion. Is this another case of the victim being discredited with no one listening to her experience. Did she know who her assailant was? what was the confusion around her being questioned? Is there any chance that she just got confused rather than lying. The physical evidence documents that something happened. Why has the media jumped so quickly into Strauss-Kahn’scamp? I expect a more fair presentation of  Need to Know. Harriet Heath

  • George Drick

    Fo Jami Floyd: the 13 young girls at the Salem witch trials were the bogus accusers, not the innocent victims put to death. Sorry if the reverse makes a more sensationalistic story, but that’s just not the way it happened.

  • whatever

    I did not say Anthony was innocent and I did not say there should not have been a trial.  What I did say was that the media hyped a crime that is not all that unusual and people went berserk.  The end result was the presumption of innocent till proved guilty became irrelevant and another attack on our system of justice.  That is clearly wrong.

    DSK may or may not abuse women.  His  accuser here has pretty much lost all credibility.  D.A.’s are not known for having a reluctance to put people on trial.  I have no idea what he will or will not face when he gets back to France and his most recent accuser.  It is clear, though, that he won’t be facing trial here in the U.S.   

  • Melissa

    I was very disappointed that Need to Know did not cover the injustice being bestowed on the victum of rape in this case. Rape is a crime of violence, as stated by your guest – bur apparently we (Need to Know, as well) are comfortable with the fact that her past lifestile means that our laws don”t protect her in the same way as someone else. What is wrong with us! We want to confict Casy Anthony for being a party girl while ignoring the pain af a victum in this case. 

  • Samas1943

    Not naming a rape victim infantilizes her? The policy of not naming rape victims was meant to encourage rape victims, who fear reprisal and blame, to come forward with their story. This interview made no mention of the latest accuser-a French woman- who claims DSK attempted to rape her. She came forth because the media was so quick to proclaim that the NY case had fallen apart, harping on the maid’s lies, not his. On the maid’s manipulations, not his. Trashing the accuser, instead of focusing on crime evidence.

  • Emel

    …So all the defense team of an accused rapist needs to do is prove the alleged victim has lied about something once in her life ever–even something unrelated to the case, like an immigration application–and they have succeeded in destroying her credibility to the point where the case is thrown out by the prosecution? What  a sick, misogynistic criminal system we have!

  • Floydjami

    Yes, I misspoke. You are correct (fourteen women
    and five men, were executed on the trumped up charges of the 13 young girls, as you say, and one
    adult woman).  But my error was not
    made in effort to sensationalize. It was an honest mistake. It happens occasionally, as we are
    only human. I think my larger point, however, was not lost on the audience: Salem
    represents one of the most significant cases of mass hysteria in our history; and remains an important cautionary
    tale about the danger of false accusations, lapses in due process, and
    governmental intrusion on individual liberties.  
    It has been many months since this program aired, but if you
    happen upon this reply, thank you so much for watching.

    Jami Floyd