The facts keep changing. Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK to the cognoscenti), the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is nabbed by New York police Saturday, having just boarded an Air France flight to Paris. Accused of sexually assaulting a maid at the Sofitel Hotel back in Manhattan hours earlier, he is hustled off the plane.
DSK, also the leading candidate against France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, is taken into custody, identified by his alleged victim in a police lineup and lingers in a Manhattan holding cell. He undergoes some sort of tests wherein DNA samples are taken from his fingernails and skin -- he volunteers for this.
In a matter of hours, he is a fallen man. He got up Saturday morning the head of the respected International Monetary Fund. He goes to sleep that night convicted in the eyes of the vast majority of the public as a sex offender.
He is subjected to that peculiar American institution of justice, the Perp Walk, and the pictures are grim. He is not the dapper Frenchman anymore, but a guy in a trench coat looking disheveled and woebegone. Judge Melissa Jackson denies him bail, though his wife is on her way from Paris with a million dollars. He may spend the rest of his life behind bars. He is sent to Rikers Island, a brutal place.
Yet the facts keep changing to those who follow the story with care. He booked the seat on the plane at least a week before, so he did not hightail it to the airport after the alleged assault took place. In fact, he had lunch with his daughter in a Manhattan restaurant about a half-hour after the alleged assault. The personal cellphone that he allegedly forgot in his hasty exit to the airport and called the hotel about, tipping the cops to his whereabouts, has completely slipped from sight. Still, he is jailed with no hope of bail and charged with several felony counts for chasing a maid around his hotel room and forcing her into various humiliating positions.
The news accounts echo with tales of earlier sexual assaults and behavior that suggest he suffers from the Clinton Syndrome. At least one woman in France is opening up a case against him from years before. My hunch is that he will never be elected president of France. In fact, he might not ever get out of jail.