Does hotel maid in Strauss-Kahn case need a defense lawyer, too?
Officials assert that the alleged victim in the sexual assault case against ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn lied on her tax returns, asylum application, and on other occasions. Is she now in legal trouble?
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For example, a statement from the district attorney claims that the woman, who is originally from Guinea in west Africa, submitted a false statement in connection with her request for US political asylum in 2004. The statement had to do with the arrest, torture, and eventual death of her husband, plus her own flight from Guinea in fear of her life.Skip to next paragraph
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“She stated that she had fabricated the statement with the assistance of a male who provided her with a cassette recording of the facts contained in the statement that she eventually submitted,” wrote assistant D.A. Joan Illuzzi-Orbon. “She memorized these facts by listening to the recording repeatedly.”
The D.A. also said that as part of her statement to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the woman said she had been subjected to a brutal gang rape in Guinea, but that during questioning by the D.A.’s office she acknowledged that account was fabricated. However, she told prosecutors that she had been raped in Guinea in a different incident.
The INS does have the ability to revoke an immigrant's so-called green card, which gives him or her the right to work in the US, if the individual lied on the application for asylum, says Maxine Lee, a lawyer familiar with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
“They do have that ability, especially if she admitted her statements were lies,” says Ms. Lee, an immigration lawyer based in Edison, N.J. “The law says an asylum seeker may lose their status if there is fraud in their application.”
During questioning by the District Attorney’s Office, the hotel maid also lied during the sessions, wrote Ms. Illuzzi-Orbon.
However, it's doubtful she would be prosecuted for making false statements, say some experts. “If they think she is still credible on the ultimate incident of forced sex, they are not going to prosecute her" for false statements, says Joel Cohen, a former prosecutor at the law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in New York. “Part of the reason is they don’t want to appear to be prosecuting a legitimate victim; that would be very bad for justice.”
One worry, says Mr. Cohen, is that the woman has “done serious harm for legitimate victims of sexual assault, since they will be afraid they will be subject to this kind of scrutiny.”