01 July 2011


Here's an outcome I actually didn't expect. The Guardian (among others) reports that the criminal case against former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is about to go belly up. The surprising thing isn't that he's going to beat the charges; after all, he's a global power broker and she's an immigrant maid. The main surprise is how spectacularly colossal the collapse appears to be.

Strauss-Kahn, if you recall, never denied having sex with the maid. He never said "I did not have sex with that woman" as some other famous leaders have been known to say. However, he alleged the sex was consensual. The maid alleged rape.

It looked pretty dark for the DSK, and the story had all the makings of a TV or movie crime drama: wealthy privileged man takes advantage of lowly support staff on the margins of society. Surely in most crime dramas, the man would be convicted after having used his wealth and power to try to escape, only to find justice prevail in the end...cue courtroom steps scene of victorious lawyers wearily asking each other if they'd like a drink.

Our dear recently departed Peter Falk could have made mincemeat of the DSK stand-in during another installment of the best detective show ever, Columbo.

And of course, even in the cop shows where the good guys don't always win, such as Law and Order, the audience would still be left with the impression that the bad guy got away with something, that he's still guilty as sin but that money and power can sometimes buy the verdict, a message hammered home in so many Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett tales.

Alas, we don't even have the luxury of moral if not judicial superiority, as the case appears to be so completely done for that DSK's story may in fact be the true one. Certainly the report that she consulted a jailed drug dealer friend on the financial windfall that could occur should she press charges makes her look, um, a bit unreliable.

So we still have the story of the power broker and the maid, but that's about it.

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