Coverage at FT.com—Europe’s equivalent to The New York Times—indicates the French may quickly put aside DSK’s scandals. A miracle resurrection is indeed rare, reportedly experienced by just one other Jew in world history, some 2,000 years ago.
Seriously, the pending comeback of Dominique Strauss-Khan is an amazing story of the rise and fall, and rise again, of a towering European political figure. DSK headed the IMF, and he was about to announce a run for the French presidency just when the stunning May 14 hotel chambermaid rape allegations resulted in dramatic Strauss-Kahn’s detention and subsequent arrest on an airplane as he was about to leave the U.S.
Strauss-Kahn is known throughout Europe as DSK. Three-initial status to Americans is reserved for JFK, LBJ, MLK. Strauss-Kahn is about that big.
DSK achieved star status partly because he’s married to Anne Sinclair. To call Sinclair the Diane Sawyer of Europe shortchanges Sinclair. Her Sunday news show was the French equivalent to 60 Minutes.
Sinclair, 62, as is DSK, is the granddaughter of Paul Rosenberg, one of France's biggest art dealers and renowned for representing Pablo Picasso, Braque, and Henri Matisse.. She was raised by Jewish parents who fled the Holocaust. She comes from a family of art collectors. Her father was a close friend of Picasso and her mother was the subject of Picasso paintings.
According to The New York Times, “Sinclair did over 500 interviews, including of presidents like François Mitterrand, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Bill Clinton, as well as Hillary Rodham Clinton as first lady, and stars like Yves Montand and even Madonna.” Her Sunday evening show has attracted as many as 12 million viewers.
The exoneration of DSK and his treatment will be played in France as an example of the shortcomings of the American justice system. In France, there is no “perp walk.” You don’t get treated like your guilty, and we did treat DSK like he was guilty.
The French criminal law system in some ways, sometimes may actually be better than what we do in the U.S. It’s possible. What’s certain is the French will see this as one other way they are superior to Americans.
Europeans, in general, and the French, in particular, don’t expect marital fidelity of their politicians. They regard Americans as prudish for ruining the public reputation of our political figures over extramarital affairs and peccadilloes. Just look at Italy’s Prime Minister Sylvio Burlusconi many sex scandals or the story about Mitterand’s mistress.
So the question after today’s courtroom drama is whether all of the criminal charges against DSK will be dropped and whether he can come back.
Despite the French people’s tolerance of extramarital affairs, and despite the fact that the chambermaid’s allegations of rape by appear to be on their way to being discredited, the incident in New York may have damaged DSK’s reputation irreparably.
The hotel chambermaid’s allegations were not the first against Strauss Kahn. In 2002, French journalist Tristane Banon
, said DSK tried to rape, or at least sexually assault, her. And in August 2008, Hungarian economist Piroska Nagy resigned from the IMF and Strauss-Kahn was up front about an affair with Nagy, saying, "It was an incident in my private life and at no time did I abuse my position as the fund's managing director."
In addition, the lawyer for the chambermaid
today was very convincing in a press conference. He provided graphic details of the alleged sex attack, citing photographs of the woman's "bruised vagina" and medical evidence of other injuries, plus evidence of semen that she had spat out into the room.
This is not the usual fare on A4A, but this is one salacious story and I could not resist writing about it.
What do you think? Will the French overlook the accusations? Has the accuser been discredited? Is Strauss-Kahn just the victim of an immigrant who saw a way to make a quick buck?
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