Saturday, November 26, 2011

DSK and the Dancing Men

Edward Jay Epstein has done an excellent job of uncovering further information surrounding the alleged rape of a maid by Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the NYC Sofitel Hotel (owned by the Accor Group), among the most fascinating details he reveals are these:
By the time {Head of Accor security] Sheehan was called by the hotel at 1:03 PM, [the alleged victim]Diallo was seated on a bench in the hotel’s ground floor service area, just off the service entrance on 45th Street. Behind her was a “Dutch door,” with the upper half opened, that led to the hotel’s security office. Surveillance camera footage shows her entering the area with a tall unidentified man at 12:52 PM. She mains there until 2:05 PM. At 12:56, she is joined there by Brian Yearwood, the large, heavy-set man who is the hotel’s chief engineer. Yearwood had just come down from the presidential suite on the twenty-eighth floor, which he had entered at 12:51, according to the key records. Yearwood remained close to Diallo as she spoke to Adrian Branch, the security chief for the hotel, who remained behind the half-shut door of the security office. She can be seen gesturing with her hands for about four minutes, pointing to different parts of her body over and over again, suggesting she was telling and retelling her story.

At 1:28, Sheehan, still on the way to the hotel, sent a text message to Yearwood. And then another text message to an unidentified recipient at 1:30. At 1:31—one hour after Diallo had first told a supervisor that she had been assaulted by the client in the presidential suite—Adrian Branch placed a 911 call to the police. Less than two minutes later, the footage from the two surveillance cameras shows Yearwood and an unidentified man walking from the security office to an adjacent area. This is the same unidentified man who had accompanied Diallo to the security office at 12:52 PM. There, the two men high-five each other, clap their hands, and do what looks like an extraordinary dance of celebration that lasts for three minutes. They are then shown standing by the service door leading to 45th Street—apparently waiting for the police to arrive—where they are joined at 2:04 PM by Florian Schutz, the hotel manager.
Here's an interesting Sarkozy connection:
RenĂ©-Georges Querry, Sheehan’s ultimate superior at Accor and a well-connected former chief of the French anti-gang brigades, who was now head of security for the Accor Group. Before joining Accor Group in 2003, he had worked closely in the police with Ange Mancini, who is now coordinator for intelligence for President Sarkozy.
Here's some curious information Epstein has discovered about DSK's "IMF Blackberry":
DSK’s BlackBerry, with its messages, is still missing. Investigations by both the police and private investigators retained by DSK’s lawyers failed to find it. While DSK believed he had left it in the Sofitel, the records obtained from BlackBerry show that the missing phone’s GPS circuitry was disabled at 12:51. This stopped the phone from sending out signals identifying its location. Apart from the possibility of an accident, for a phone to be disabled in this way, according to a forensic expert, required technical knowledge about how the BlackBerry worked.

From electronic information that became available to investigators in November 2011, it appears the phone never left the Sofitel. If it was innocently lost, whoever found it never used it, raising the question of by whom and why it was disabled at 12:51. In any case, its absence made it impossible for DSK to check—as he had planned to do—to see if it had been compromised. Nor was it possible to verify from the phone itself the report he received on May 14 that his messages were being intercepted. So we cannot confirm the warning to DSK that he was under surveillance on that disastrous day.

Here's what Epstein reports about the maid entering and leaving another room, before and after the alleged rape by DSK:

After she had left DSK in the presidential suite around 12:13 PM—the time of his call to Camille—she remained on the VIP floor. The hotel’s electronic key records indicate that at 12:26 PM she entered 2820, another VIP suite on the same floor that she had already entered several times earlier that morning....

When asked why she had not used her pass key to go into another room, she said they all had “Do Not Disturb” signs on the door. After her grand jury testimony, prosecutors discovered that this was false when the hotel belatedly provided them with the electronic key records showing that Diallo had entered room 2820 at 12:26 PM, after her encounter with DSK. The same record also showed that she had also entered room 2820 prior to her encounter with DSK at a time when the occupant had not checked out and may have been in the room. Why she concealed visiting 2820 was “inexplicable” to the prosecutors, who noted in their motion for dismissal that if she had mentioned her visits to 2820, it would have been declared part of the crime scene and searched by the police. But she did not do so.

Nor were DSK’s lawyers able to find an explanation. When they attempted to learn the identity of the occupant of 2820, Sofitel refused to release it on grounds of privacy. Given Diallo’s conflicting accounts, all that we really know about what happened in the nearby room 2820 is that Diallo went there both before and after her encounter with DSK and then omitted the latter visit from her sworn testimony to the grand jury.
Epstein's full report is here.


  1. Sounds a little too fishy to me...obviously a setup

  2. Agree - fascinating and great work by Epstein.

    Dsk likely wishes he avoided Accor group hotels...but guess he always stayed at NYC Sofitel for his MH trips...that history may be interesting to know...

  3. wouldn't Sofitel have had to provide the identity of the occupant of Rm. 2820 to the prosecutor? Or would that require a subpoena since it was not part of the initial crime scene? And if they had to provide it to the prosecutor wouldn't the defense have had the rights to the information? IIRC there was some lag between the emergence of the Rm 2820 info and the ultimate dropping of the case. If the prosecution didn't do whatever was necessary to find out who was in that room and interview them, that seems...odd. Unless, they really didn't want to know.

    Also, no one seems to be mentioning the possibility that both DSK and Diallo were setup. She could have been entirely a dupe. Just because HE was setup doesn't mean that she wasn't assaulted (my theory, if she's not part of the setup, is that at minimum she was unfairly coerced, ie, she saw him, realized she could lose her job, freaked, then once she learned he wanted her for sex she REALLY had a problem and that fear was used to make her do something she otherwise would never have done. Not necessarily criminality in this jurisdiction, but not the implausible narrative that she just on a whim decided to consensually service him in the span of 6-7 minutes because he's so irresistible. Never bought that scenario.