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Was DSK framed?

Was DSK framed?

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Published by Martin Varsavsky
My friend Ed Jay Epstein sent me this article he wrote on the New York Review of Books last night. It speaks about the possibility that DSK was framed by people close to Sarkozy. What I like about the article is that it is as factual as it can possibly be.
My friend Ed Jay Epstein sent me this article he wrote on the New York Review of Books last night. It speaks about the possibility that DSK was framed by people close to Sarkozy. What I like about the article is that it is as factual as it can possibly be.

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Published by: Martin Varsavsky on Nov 27, 2011
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11/27/2011

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22
The New York Review
 What Really Happened to Strauss-Kahn?
Edward Jay Epstein
May 14, 2011, was a horrendous day forDominique Strauss-Kahn, then head of the International Monetary Fund andleading contender to unseat NicolasSarkozy as president of France in theApril 2012 elections. Waking up in thepresidential suite of the Sotel NewYork hotel that morning, he was sup-posed to be soon enroute to Paris andthen to Berlin where he had a meetingthe following day with German Chan-cellor Angela Merkel. He could nothave known that by late afternoon hewould, instead, be imprisoned in NewYork on a charge of sexual assault. Hewould then be indicted by agrand jury on seven countsof attempted rape, sexual as-sault, and unlawful impris-onment, placed under housearrest for over a month, and,two weeks before all thecharges were dismissed bythe prosecutor on August 23,2011, sued for sexual abuse bythe alleged victim.He knew he had a seriousproblem with one of his Black-Berry cell phones—which hecalled his
IMF
BlackBerry.This was the phone he usedto send and receive texts ande-mails—including for bothpersonal and
IMF
business.According to several sourceswho are close to DSK, he hadreceived a text message thatmorning from Paris from awoman friend temporarilyworking as a researcher atthe Paris ofces of the
UMP
,Sarkozy’s center-right politi-cal party. She warned DSK,who was then pulling aheadof Sarkozy in the polls, that at leastone private e-mail he had recently sentfrom his BlackBerry to his wife, AnneSinclair, had been read at the
UMP
 ofces in Paris.
1
It is unclear how the
UMP
ofces might have received thise-mail, but if it had come from his
IMF
 BlackBerry, he had reason to suspecthe might be under electronic surveil-lance in New York. He had alreadybeen warned by a friend in the Frenchdiplomatic corps that an effort wouldbe made to embarrass him with a scan-dal. The warning that his BlackBerrymight have been hacked was thereforeall the more alarming.At 10:07
AM
he called his wife inParis on his
IMF
BlackBerry, and in aconversation that lasted about six min-utes told her he had a big problem. Heasked her to contact a friend, StéphaneFouks, who could come to his home onthe Place des Vosges and who couldarrange to have both his BlackBerryand iPad examined by an expert insuch matters. He had no time to doanything about it that morning. Hehad scheduled an early lunch with histwenty-six-year-old daughter Camille,a graduate student at Columbia, whowanted to introduce him to her newboyfriend. After that, he had to get toJFK Airport in time to catch his 4:40
PM
ight to Paris.
H
e had nished packing his suitcase just before noon, according to his ownaccount, and then took a shower inthe bathroom, which is connected tothe bedroom in the suite by an inte-rior corridor. According to the hotel’selectronic key records, which wereprovided to DSK’s lawyers, NassatouDiallo, a maid, had entered the presi-dential suite (room 2806) between12:06 and 12:07
PM
(such records areonly accurate to the nearest minute).
2
Ordinarily, cleaning personnel do notenter a room to clean when a guest isstill in it. According to DSK’s account,his bags were visible in the foyer whenhe emerged naked from the bathroominto the interior corridor. At this point,according to his account, he encoun-tered the maid in the corridor by thebathroom. (The maid, for her part, saysshe encountered him coming out of thebedroom.) Phone records show that by12:13
PM
he was speaking to his daugh-ter Camille on his BlackBerry. The calllasted for forty seconds.What took place between DSK andthe maid in those six to seven interven-ing minutes is a matter of dispute.
DNA
 evidence found outside the bathroomdoor showed her saliva mixed with hissemen. The New York prosecutor con-cluded that a “hurried sexual encoun-ter” took place and DSK’s lawyers haveadmitted as much, while claiming thatwhat happened was consensual. Themaid has brought a civil suit claiminghe used force. It is not clear when sheleft the room since key card records donot show times of exit. What is knownis that DSK called his daughter on his
IMF
BlackBerry at 12:13 to tell her hewould be late.After DSK completed his call, hedressed and put on his light black top-coat. He carried with him only onesmall overnight bag and a briefcase(which contained his iPad and severalspare phones) and took the elevator tothe lobby. At 12:28
PM
the hotel secu-rity cameras show him departing. Hehad to go eight blocks to the McCor-mick & Schmick’s restaurant on SixthAvenue between 51st and 52nd Street.He was delayed by heavy trafc onSixth Avenue. The restaurant camerashows that he arrived at 12:54.Camille was with her new boyfriend.They had a quick meal, and at 2:15
PM
,according to the restaurant’s surveil-lance cameras, DSK got in anothertaxi to go to the airport. Almost im-mediately, he discovered that his
IMF
 BlackBerry was missing. It was thephone he had arranged to have exam-ined for bugs in Paris and it was thephone that contained the earlier textmessage warning him about the inter-ception of his messages. At 2:16
PM
hecalled Camille, who had also just leftthe restaurant, on his spare BlackBerryand had her go back to the restaurantto search for it. Camera footage at therestaurant shows her crawling underthe table. At 2:28
PM
she sent him atext message saying that she could notnd it. So DSK continued on to theairport.Back at the Sotel, meanwhile, Naf-issatou Diallo, the maid he had encoun-tered in the presidential suite, had toldhotel security that she had been sexu-ally assaulted by a client in that suite.A thirty-two-year-old immigrant fromGuinea, she had been working at theSotel for three years. At 2:30
PM
shewas shown a photograph of DSK bythe hotel’s security people. Accordingto the ofcial bill of particulars—thestatement of the basic facts of the caseled by the prosecutors—the policehad apparently not yet fully taken overthe case, even though the encounterbetween DSK and Diallo had occurredover two hours earlier.Part of the delay in bringing in the po-lice may have been the result of Diallo’snot immediately voicing her complaint.After she had left DSK in the presiden-tial suite around 12:13
PM
—the time of his call to Camille—she remained onthe
VIP
oor. The hotel’s electronic keyrecords indicate that at 12:26
PM
sheentered 2820, another
VIP
suite on thesame oor that she had already enteredseveral times earlier that morning. Then,one to two minutes later, she went backto the now empty presidential suite. Afew minutes after that, sheencountered another house-keeper, her supervisor, in thecorridor. In the course of theirconversation, Diallo asked thesupervisor what would happenif a hotel guest took advantageof a hotel employee. Initially,Diallo told her that this wasonly a hypothetical question;but then, when pressed further,she said that she had been as-saulted by the guest in thepresidential suite. The super-visor then brought her to thehead of housekeeping, RenataMarkozani, who reentered thepresidential suite with Dialloat 12:42, according to the keyrecords, and notied the ho-tel’s security and managementpersonnel. At 12:52
PM
, Diallois seen arriving at the hotel’ssecurity ofce on the groundoor, located near the 45thStreet entrance. She is wear-ing a beige uniform, and isaccompanied by Renata Mar-kozani, whom she towers over.(She is ve feet ten inches tall.)Shortly thereafter the hotel’s ownsecurity team was augmented by JohnSheehan, a security expert who isidentied on LinkedIn as “director of safety and security” at Accor, a part of the French-based Accor Group, whichowns the Sotel. Sheehan, who was athome in Washingtonville, New York,that morning, received a call from theSotel at 1:03
PM
. He then rushed tothe hotel. While en route, accordingto his cell phone records, he called anumber with a 646 prex in the UnitedStates. But from these records neitherthe name nor the location of the personhe called can be determined. When Icalled the number a man with a heavyFrench accent answered and askedwhom I wanted to speak with at Accor.
3
The man I asked to talk to—andto whom I was not put through—wasRené-Georges Querry, Sheehan’s ul-timate superior at Accor and a well-connected former chief of the Frenchanti-gang brigades, who was now headof security for the Accor Group. Be-fore joining Accor Group in 2003, hehad worked closely in the police with
Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife, Anne Sinclair, in the courtyard of their Paris residence, September 2011
   P   h   i   l   i  p  p  e   W  o   j  a  z  e  r   /   R  e  u   t  e  r  s
1
These statements, along with others inthis article, were conrmed by sourceswho prefer to remain anonymousbut are known to the author, who hasshared his information with the editors.
2
For this article, along with court andother legal documents, I had access toSotel electronic key swipe records,time-stamped security camera video-tapes, and records for a cell phone usedon the day of May 14 by John Sheehan,a security employee of Accor, the com-pany that owns the Sotel hotel.
3
I had access to the record of only onecell phone used by the Accor Group’ssecurity man, John Sheehan. NeitherSheehan nor the hotel’s security direc-tor, Adrien Brand, returned my calls.Through an assistant Brian Yearwood,the hotel’s chief engineer, said he hadno comment.
 
24
The New York Review
Ange Mancini, who is now coordinatorfor intelligence for President Sarkozy.Querry, at the time that Sheehan wasmaking his call to the 646 number,was arriving at a soccer match in Pariswhere he would be seated in the box of President Sarkozy. Querry denies re-ceiving any information about the un-folding drama at the Sotel until afterDSK was taken into custody about fourhours later.
A
nother person at the Accor Groupwhom Sheehan might have alerted wasXavier Graff, the duty ofcer at theAccor Group in Paris. Graff was respon-sible that weekend for handling emer-gencies at Accor Group hotels, includingthe Sotel in New York. His name onlyemerged ve weeks later when he sent abizarre e-mail to his friend Colonel Thi-erry Bourret, the head of an environ-ment and public health agency, claimingcredit for “bringing down” DSK. Afterthe e-mail was leaked to
Le Figaro
,Graff described it as a joke (it resulted,however, in his suspension as directorof emergencies by the Accor Group).Even jokes can have a basis. In this casethe joke was made by the person whowas directly responsible for passing oninformation to his superiors, includingthe head of security at Accor, René-Georges Querry—information that, if acted on by informing the Americanauthorities, could have helped destroyDSK’s career. But like Querry, Graff denied receiving any calls or messagesfrom New York until later that evening,telling a French newspaper that thefailure to inform him was an “incredi-ble miss” (“
loupe
”).By the time Sheehan was called bythe hotel at 1:03
PM
, Diallo was seatedon a bench in the hotel’s ground oorservice area, just off the service en-trance on 45th Street. Behind her wasa “Dutch door,” with the upper half opened, that led to the hotel’s secu-rity ofce. Surveillance camera foot-age shows her entering the area with atall unidentied man at 12:52
PM
. Shemains there until 2:05
PM
. At 12:56,she is joined there by Brian Yearwood,the large, heavy-set man who is thehotel’s chief engineer. Yearwood had just come down from the presidentialsuite on the twenty-eighth oor, whichhe had entered at 12:51, according tothe key records. Yearwood remainedclose to Diallo as she spoke to AdrianBranch, the security chief for the hotel,who remained behind the half-shut doorof the security ofce. She can be seengesturing with her hands for about fourminutes, pointing to different parts of her body over and over again, suggestingshe was telling and retelling her story.At 1:28, Sheehan, still on the way tothe hotel, sent a text message to Year-wood. And then another text messageto an unidentied recipient at 1:30. At1:31—one hour after Diallo had rsttold a supervisor that she had been as-saulted by the client in the presidentialsuite—Adrian Branch placed a 911 callto the police. Less than two minuteslater, the footage from the two surveil-lance cameras shows Yearwood and anunidentied man walking from the se-curity ofce to an adjacent area. Thisis the same unidentied man who hadaccompanied Diallo to the security of-ce at 12:52
PM
. There, the two menhigh-ve each other, clap their hands,and do what looks like an extraordi-nary dance of celebration that lasts forthree minutes. They are then shownstanding by the service door leading to45th Street—apparently waiting for thepolice to arrive—where they are joinedat 2:04
PM
by Florian Schutz, the hotelmanager.A minute later, at 2:05
PM
, the foot-age shows two uniformed police of-cers arriving and then accompanyingDiallo to an adjoining ofce. It is un-clear if the police ofcially took overthe case at this time or later. There is sofar no explanation for why the securitystaff had delayed the call to the
NYPD
 that would lead a scandal involving thepossible future president of France.What is clear is that they did so justthree minutes after receiving a mes-sage from Sheehan. Nor is it clear whythe two men were celebrating.
T
he police arrived, according to thehotel’s security camera footage, at 2:05
PM
. They then can be seen escortingDiallo to a room across from the se-curity ofce. There is an unexplaineddiscrepancy here concerning the in-formation in the bill of particulars,which says that at approximately 2:30
PM
, “a photograph of the defendantwas shown to the witness [i.e., Diallo]by hotel security without police in-volvement.” If so, even after leavingthe bench (and video surveillance)and going to a room with the police,she remained in the custody of Sotelsecurity. I asked both Deputy Com-missioner Paul Browne and Deputy In-spector Kim Royster why, according tothe bill of particulars, the police werenot ofcially involved at this point, butthey declined to comment.More than an hour later, at 3:28
PM
,the police took her to St. Luke’s Hospi-tal, where she was medically examinedand they then formally interviewedher. She described to them a brutal andsustained sexual attack in which DSKlocked the suite door, dragged her intothe bedroom, and then dragged herdown the inner corridor to a spot closeto the bathroom door—a distance of about forty feet—and, after attemptingto assault her both anally and vaginally,forced her twice to perform fellatio.After that, she ed the suite. As has beenseen, according to the electronic key in-formation, and to the record of DSK’scall to his daughter showing him speak-ing to her at 12:13, we can reasonablyconclude that any such actions couldhave taken place only within a period of six or seven minutes, between 12:06–07and 12:13, when he called his daughter.At 3:01
PM
, as DSK was approach-ing the airport, he was still attemptingto nd his missing phone. He attemptedto call it from his spare but received noanswer. What he did not know was thatat 12:51, according to the records of theBlackBerry company, it had been some-how disabled. At 3:29
PM
, evidentlyunaware of what was happening at theSotel, he called the hotel from the taxi,saying, according to the police tran-script, “I am Dominique Strauss-Kahn,I was a guest. I left my phone behind.”He then said he was in room “2806.” Hewas asked to give a phone number, sothat he could be called back, after 2806was searched for his phone.When he was called back thirteenminutes later, he spoke to a hotel em-ployee who was in the presence of police detective John Mongiello. Thehotel employee falsely told him that hisphone had been found and asked whereit could be delivered. DSK told him thathe was at JFK Airport and that “I havea problem because my ight leaves at4:26
PM
.” He was reassured that some-one could bring it to the airport in time.“OK, I am at the Air France Terminal,Gate 4, Flight 23,” DSK responded.So the police rushed to the airport.At 4:45
PM
, police called DSK off theplane and took him into custody.DSK was then jailed and indicted bya grand jury on seven counts, includingattempted rape, sexual abuse, and un-lawful imprisonment. The court even-tually dropped all the charges againsthim because the prosecutors found thatthe complainant, Diallo, had proven tobe an untruthful witness. They wrote inthe motion for dismissal that “the na-ture and number of the complainant’sfalsehoods leave us unable to credit herversion of events beyond a reasonabledoubt.” They said that she “has givenirreconcilable accounts of what hap-pened,” and had lied not only to theprosecutors but under oath to the grand jury about her whereabouts after theencounter. She stated that she had hidin the hall after leaving the presidentialsuite, and entered no other room on thetwenty-eighth oor until she told an-other maid about the attack (which wasapproximately fteen minutes later).When asked why she had not usedher pass key to go into another room,she said they all had “Do Not Disturb”signs on the door. After her grand jurytestimony, prosecutors discovered thatthis was false when the hotel belatedlyprovided them with the electronic keyrecords showing that Diallo had en-tered room 2820 at 12:26
PM
, after herencounter with DSK. The same recordalso showed that she had also enteredroom 2820 prior to her encounter withDSK at a time when the occupant had notchecked out and may have been in theroom. Why she concealed visiting 2820was “inexplicable” to the prosecutors,who noted in their motion for dismissalthat if she had mentioned her visits to2820, it would have been declared partof the crime scene and searched by thepolice. But she did not do so.
N
or were DSK’s lawyers able to ndan explanation. When they attemptedto learn the identity of the occupantof 2820, Sotel refused to release iton grounds of privacy. Given Diallo’sconicting accounts, all that we really
ServiceElevatorsGuestElevators
Room 2806
PresidentialSuite
Room2820
DINING ROOM AND PANTRY LIVINGROOMBEDROOMBATHROOMFOYERCORRIDOROTHER ROOMS,UTILITY/STRUCTURAL AREAS
 A schematic drawing of the twenty-eighth oor of the Sotel New York,with the presidential suite, room 2806, that was occupied by Dominique Strauss-Kahnon May 13 and 14. The nearby room 2820 was entered at least three timeson May 14 by the Sotel maid Nassatou Diallo.
   M   i   k  e   K   i  n  g
ServiceElevatorsGuestElevators
Sta Entrance
RESTAURANT RESTAURANT KITCHEN LOBBY 
F   O D  S  
To 44th Street 
Main Entrance
   4   5   t   h   S   t  r  e  e   t
LOADINGDOCK SECURITY STAIRWELLOTHER ROOMS,UTILITY/ STRUCTURAL AREASSECURITY CAMERAS
       S
        T
      A
           I
    R
C
A
S
Bench
 A schematic drawing of the rst oor of the Sotel New York, based on plansregistered with the New York City Department of Buildings
   M   i   k  e   K   i  n  g

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