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Computer Records Hold Key In IMF Head's Sexual Assault Case 252

Posted by timothy
from the he-said-she-said-it-said dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "ABA Journal reports that the chief of the International Monetary Fund may claim consent as a defense to accusations that he sexually assaulted a maid at the Sofitel Hotel in New York as defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman told the judge he believed the 'forensic evidence' was 'not consistent with forcible encounter.' Police have said the maid knocked on Strauss-Kahn's door and called out, used her master keycard to open the door, and left her work cart in the doorway, a typical safety practice in hotels. According to the police account, Strauss-Kahn emerged naked, tried to attack the maid, and then shut the hotel door when she tried to escape. The NY Times explains how the key card evidence may play out: 'If the defense for Mr. Strauss-Kahn maintains that the encounter was consensual, its version will have to accommodate the unambiguous computer record of her leaving the door propped open,' the story says."
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Computer Records Hold Key In IMF Head's Sexual Assault Case

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  • wait wait wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Speare (84249) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:05AM (#36176908) Homepage Journal

    We're following this tabloid crap on Slashdot just because a door has an electronic sensor on it !? Get real, for fuck's sake.

  • Which was it?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:06AM (#36176918)

    tried to attack the maid, and then shut the hotel door when she tried to escape

    If the defense for Mr. Strauss-Kahn maintains that the encounter was consensual, its version will have to accommodate the unambiguous computer record of her leaving the door propped open,'

    Above 2 statements are contradictory

  • Thank you (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:12AM (#36176952)

    As a french, let me tell you, thank you America for doing what our justice system failed to do for at least 10 years.

  • Re:Which was it?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:13AM (#36176958) Homepage
    I don't think they're contradictory, you've just spotted the obvious version of the story that would "accommodate the unambiguous computer record", and make the NY Times article a load of hot air. The maid will claim he shut the door to imprison her, he will claim they shut the door after mutually agreeing to sex. So these records prove nothing, other than that the encounter most likely started with the usual practice of the maid propping the door open to valet the room.
  • by fche (36607) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:14AM (#36176964)

    The "unambiguous computer records" at issue here are the supposed times and codes of door openings and times of closings. It's unambiguously useless for telling apart situation (a) the attempted rapist guest closes the door and (b) the maid interested in extracurricular activities closes the door.

  • Other reasons (Score:1, Insightful)

    by maroberts (15852) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:55AM (#36177270) Homepage Journal
    Hmm, man walks out of bathroom after having showered only to find someone in his room who may or may not be the maid. Could he have not thought she was a burglar or simply have being trying to force her out of the room whilst he got dressed? (Hey if everyone else can speculate with no facts to go on, lets join in!)
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:57AM (#36177288) Homepage

    Actually, no. The Slashdot crowd has interest in the goings on of the IMF and the players involved.

    In case you hadn't noticed, in addition to news stories about gadgets and software, we also have an interest in the things that make the world go around. Among these are copyright, trade mark and patent laws and litigation, money and finance and politics in general.

    If you have noticed, then I have to wonder how you failed to notice that in this case. He's the head of the IMF. He's a big-time shaker, mover and influencer in all things that make the world go around.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:01AM (#36177326) Homepage Journal

    and all three that I know

    Just curious - did you work in hotels with $3K/night suites? I'd not expect them to have the same key systems as the La Quinta. Don't get me wrong, I prefer the La Quinta to the posh hotels (it's a bed for Pete's sake...) but my question is whether your experience is directly relevant.

    For instance, most office buildings I've worked in with prox-card systems will sound an alarm if the door is left open for more than 30 seconds (or whatever they're programmed for) to prevent unauthorized entry.

  • Reasonable Doubt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:08AM (#36177378) Homepage Journal

    The maid will claim he shut the door to imprison her, he will claim they shut the door after mutually agreeing to sex. So these records prove nothing

    Fortunately the accused in our system don't have to prove anything, just convince the jury that there's reasonable doubt. If it boils down to a he-said/she-said situation, that shouldn't be too hard. If there's further evidence of sexual entrapment, even easier.

    But, no matter, he'll have been replaced at the IMF even before a pre-trial hearing, so the goal will have been met and it doesn't matter what the judicial outcome is.

  • by Issarlk (1429361) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:10AM (#36177398)
    I bet a few people where listening to bugs planted in that room. too bad that kind of evidence will never become public.
  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:17AM (#36177454)

    I have a few quite celebrity-aware friends. I'm always amazed at how many celebrities (A- to D-list) I come across when I'm with them. I can conceive of a poor immigrant woman not having either knowledge nor interest about the west's current nomenklatura. I'm French and, honestly, before this, I probably wouldn't have recognized him either. His name I would, his face,not.

    She's been cleaning $3000 a night rooms for 3 years. If she wanted to blackmail people, she wouldn't run off to the police, she would probably target business, sports, show-business people rather than politicians, and above all she would ask privately for money, not publicly for justice.

  • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:31AM (#36177622)

    Real estate.

    If they were really concerned about security, the outer-most door wouldn't be the one with the lock -- it would simply lead to a lobby or vestibule, a non-secure but indoor and dry area, visible to security, through which employees would pass in a more orderly fashion to a secure door leading into the building proper.

    People rush through because they don't want to form up in a line outside. Once they're inside, it's not so big of an issue to stand around a bit longer. They're out of the weather, away from the traffic. But security theater is so much more entertaining..

  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:50AM (#36177800) Homepage Journal

    He's the head of the IMF. He's a big-time shaker, mover and influencer in all things that make the world go around.

    Right, so talk about all of those world-affecting issues. The guy's resignation is salient on its own, if someone wants to post a good article on his tenure and the changes this event may effect. The keycard records that play an infinitesimal role in the situation is not salient, or even interesting, but was called out as if some tech shibboleth was required to get coverage here. It's stupid pandering.

  • by thej1nx (763573) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @09:49AM (#36178286)

    Are you being dense on purpose? The maid says that she had left the door propped open and Strauss closed it later, so the electronic records for the lock should corroborate her story. If the records show instead that the door was closed immediately after her entry, her story would not match up and will be proof that she is not being truthful. Simple enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @10:07AM (#36178510)

    Guy has a history of sexual harassment/assault. Victim says she was assaulted and forensic evidence seems to support her account. There's no need to invent conspiracy theories here.

    Just because a guy happens to be a "socialist" or French or anti-US doesn't make him *not* a rich, powerful douche who thinks he can do whatever he likes to whomever he likes. This guy violated another human being and deserves what he gets. I don't care who he is or what he thinks about our currency.

  • Re:Which was it?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DavidTC (10147) <`moc.xobreven' ` ... .vidavsxd54sals'> on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:04PM (#36180208) Homepage

    It would explain why they both said the door was shut when it really wasn't, although you'd still think they might have noticed that.

    You think someone closing the door for consensual sex might notice that, especially if she worked at the hotel and knew exactly how that worked.

    OTOH, someone shoving the cleaning cart out of the way and closing the door to stop someone from fleeing might not notice that, and the person attempting to flee might not either.

    Alternately, perhaps the cart didn't make it out of the way, and was still holding the door open. Perhaps the handle got caught in it.

    Incidentally, I've seen maids prop open doors with their cart, but I thought they just didn't want to bring the carts into the room, but yet didn't want to leave it, unobserved, out in the hall. Plus it would be tricky to get stuff off the cart without having to unlock the door again.

    I never realized they did it as a safety feature. It's doubly smart...it makes it hard to close the door, and if this hotel did it like the hotel I saw, and someone did close the door, the cart would end up outside the room, so that people could actually find the maid if she temporarily vanished in circumstances like this.

    Incidentally, the idea of a maid in an expensive hotel deciding to, during cleaning, to randomly have sex with some visitor is idiotic. Maids tend to be on tight schedules. I can see some hypothetical 'come back later' scenario, but during cleaning is just stupid.

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