In French or English, Strauss-Kahn Being Railroaded

French-bashing is a pastime of increasing popularity among conservative politicians and media pundits. The French attitude of superiority, recognized by Alexis de Tocqueville in the 19th Century (“the French want no-one to be their superior”), facilitates this sport. This is, however, most unfortunate for former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (often known simply by his initials, “DSK”), as he fights felony sex charges leveled against him in New York City.

The rush to judgment against the wealthy and flamboyant Frenchman has turned the legal process into something more like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, than the measured and deliberate search for the truth which is the presumed goal of our judicial system.

The charges against Strauss-Kahn, splashed across the front page of tabloids from the Big Apple to every European capital, are well-known. The now-former chairman of the International Monetary Fund and potential Socialist Party candidate for the French presidency, was arrested earlier this month in New York City on accusations he sexually assaulted and unlawfully detained a maid is his Sofitel Hotel suite.

After the alleged offense occurred, Strauss-Kahn checked out of the hotel to catch a previously-booked flight to Paris. Police literally yanked him off the plane just before it was set to take off.

Authorities then took their time in arranging a bail hearing while Strauss-Kahn was detained at the infamous Rikers Island. He finally was released on May 20th after posting a $1 million cash bond and another $5 million insurance bond. The court seized his passport, required him to wear an electronic monitor at all times, and limited his movements to a New York apartment.

Strauss-Kahn’s sexual dalliances are well-known in France and elsewhere; and the man himself seems to wear his nickname, “the Great Seducer,” proudly. This notoriety, however, complicates his current circumstances, which some supporters claim was simply another in a long line of “consensual” encounters. Still, even a self-proclaimed Lady’s Man is entitled to a presumption of innocence and a fair legal process; something here easier said than done.

As the Queen of Hearts famously declared in Alice’s Wonderland, “sentence first, verdict afterwards;” and this edict has been taken to heart by conservative pundits, from Glenn Beck to Ann Coulter. For these fair-weather civil libertarians, the Bill of Rights includes an important footnote, making its guarantees of due process inapplicable to wealthy Frenchmen.

Not all conservative writers, however, exhibit such a pinched and prejudiced view of legal fairness. For example, in a recent column, conservative writer Bob Tyrrell appropriately noted that the supposed facts of the case – or at least the charges appearing in the media – keep changing. Tyrrell also accurately points out that the manner of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest and initial appearances, including the infamous “perp walk,” clearly are designed to inflame and prejudice.

The notorious and unnecessary “perp walk” to which Strauss-Kahn was subject has an unfortunately long tradition in federal white-collar prosecutions. The most famous prosecutor to employ this means of humiliating persons charged with crimes was Rudy Giuliani, who used it to maximum public relations advantage during his tenure as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan in the late 1980s. Notwithstanding that many of those subjected to Giuliani’s walk of shame were later found not guilty or had their convictions overturned, in many other instances the strategic goal of softening the person for plea bargaining was achieved.

While the charges against Strauss-Kahn are serious, the manner in which he is being tarred and feathered in the media — essentially because he is rich, French, and associated with an international organization – should make all Americans who believe in the importance of fairness in our legal system, cringe. The process thus far will serve only to cement prejudices already prevalent in Europe and elsewhere that our legal system is neither fair nor impartial.

56 comments Add your comment

Colin McCarthy

May 30th, 2011
5:41 am

They way the whole thing played out makes it look to me as a set up to stop any chances he had at becoming France’s next leader. He also was pushing the Tobin tax on international monetary transactions and we all know elites don’t want their money messed with.


May 30th, 2011
5:48 am

Your use of Beck and Coulter as conservative pundits leaves me wondering if there are any responsible conservative pundits. Have any truly responsible conservatives embraced the idea of giving Strauss-Kahn the benefit of doubt until an actual verdict in a trial? I didn’t say a fair trial. I doubt that will be possible.


May 30th, 2011
5:50 am

Yeah, because in France or most of Europe this would of never reached trial. Barr, do you read comments on stories like this for local offenders? They are almost always filled with vitirol, hatred and revenge fantasies. If you go to the UK, they call for bringing back the death penalty. If you go to German sites they call for life imprisonment for small-time violent crimes. The mob is everywhere, the job of not only journalists but politicians and educators is to keep that mob from running amok.


May 30th, 2011
6:15 am

“What goes around = comes around!” “The thief wants to becaught!” “Попадет коса на камень!” (a Russian proverb)…. and the time was RIPE for him, period. Regardless of a conspiracy speculation, or a tragic reality, he was caught with his pants down… finally. I worked for the World Bank (IMF’s sister org.) for a dozen of years, and oh, boy, do I know this filthy game of superiors! It is a mine field for women, good lookin’ or less…. cultivated or dumb, I have been there, and I am glad, these nepotism ridden corrupt organisation have been exposed… for the fish rottens from its head. Lock DSK for life!

Jack Kunkel

May 30th, 2011
6:56 am

When presidents of the IMF pop naked out of hotel bathrooms and chase maids down the hall of $3000 a night suites, it’s just plain bad PR, whether he’s French or otherwise.

Very Very

May 30th, 2011
7:05 am

“…the fish rottens…..”

great stuff. (insert emoticon of an Ukrainian nursing a gas bubble here).

Look, the whole thing was a set up. The maid he sexually assaulted and kidnapped was wearing a maid’s uniform and she was probably flitting around the hotel room with a cutsy little duster and humming Lady Gaga songs. No Frenchman can resist that. No Frenchwoman can resist that.

I say we chalk another one up to the Paris Hilton video and forget the whole thing.

[...] York Daily NewsAnalysis: Europe misses Strauss-Kahn in its hour of -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -Moneycontrol.comall 207 news [...]


May 30th, 2011
7:20 am

I blame it on the French national health plan. They probably get all the Viagra they want for free. What’s a man to do if he’s taken his noon Viagra pill and has to get on a plane????? Just joking. And this is no joking matter. I agree with Maria. Too many of this type of man makes life a living hell for women. They have power, and they have a sense of entitlement that is beyond the pale. I love the saying, the saying, “The fish rottens from the head…” In the last two years in the banking and financial corporations we have seen how this is so very true.


May 30th, 2011
8:05 am

….sez the guy who spent endless time railroading Bill Clinton.


May 30th, 2011
8:38 am

This man is accused of commiting a serious sex crime. Exactly how is he being denied a “fair legal process”? And, if an American executive in Paris was accused of a similar crime, how do you think our “friends”, the French, would treat him?

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

May 30th, 2011
8:41 am

DSK is Rockefellers’ boy. They have to tell you to run interference for him, Bob…or do you just know to do your job?

Steven G. Poyzer

May 30th, 2011
9:04 am

Never would have thought you a puppet of the IMF and World Bank, Mr. Barr, but I guess I was wrong.

Moderate Line

May 30th, 2011
9:11 am

While the charges against Strauss-Kahn are serious, the manner in which he is being tarred and feathered in the media — essentially because he is rich, French, and associated with an international organization – should make all Americans who believe in the importance of fairness in our legal system, cringe. The process thus far will serve only to cement prejudices already prevalent in Europe and elsewhere that our legal system is neither fair nor impartial
A great defense. There is one thing he is afforded that which the poor, non-French and those not associated with international organizations are not. He will be afforded a defense which few people can afford.

The truth of it is our system is not fair in the truest sense of the word. It is mostly bias towards celebrities and the rich. If he had none of these things going for him he would have a public defender pushing him for a plea deal. If he was not rich and a celebrity he could not make the defense of bias jury.


May 30th, 2011
9:19 am

Gosh, I feel so sorry for DSK. After all, he’s one of the most powerful men in the world, and she’s only a maid. Surely he can’t be arrested for molesting her; isn’t that within his rights as a rich white male?

By the way, how is this not worse than the Bill Clinton case when you insisted on impeaching him for a sexual dalliance that no one suggested was anything but consensual?


May 30th, 2011
10:30 am

The French need a lesson in equality. Because a man is rich and powerful, or because he has important friends, it is wrong to persecute them as if they were just another criminal after they had done wrong. A Frenchman who rapes a 13 year old girl should be excused the crime because he is an important artist. An important banker should be excused raping a hotel maid, because he cannot believe that anyone would take her word, and evidence, against his value to upper society.

The perp walk shows that americans think important people who commit crimes are criminals. They treat important foreign bank dignitaries who commit crimes as if they were the same as North African refugees who commit crimes.

The only real crime is that we don’t treat American bankers who commit rape against the American economy the same way we treat French bankers who rape hotel maids. This is where we need to learn about equality.

the watch dog

May 30th, 2011
10:43 am

“DSK” represents the arrogance of power.However, subjecting DSK to the perp-walk is a serious indictment of the “fairness” of the Constitution which is its most important attribute. The NYC law enforcement should be reproached for the conscious attempt to humiliate this defendant by the “perp-walk” To me it represents the “arrogance of power”, that before a suspect is even allowed to plead his innocense or guilt, to have this performance is disgraceful. The “lust for power” that some in the law aspire to, it is disgraceful to make one a scapegoat for the entire French community.

Public opinion is condemning the act before the fact. It tarnishes our legal justice system. Do not ask for conviction until proved of the crime. Crushing the manhood of the defendant, before the fact is unconsionable.

morris wise

May 30th, 2011
12:12 pm

It takes power to flip king size mattresses, then envelop them with fitted sheets. Lets praise the 32 year old strong lady from Guinea who never let the weight of a 200 pound mattress prevent her from earning a paycheck. Lets badmouth the 62 year old wimp who barely was able to carry his diplomatic pouch. His attempt to pin the strong lady from Guinea was as futile as a tiny poodle attempting to make love to a great dane.

J. Möller

May 30th, 2011
12:45 pm

I do think there’s a conspiracy of some sorts. I’ve been following the story pretty closely, and I don’t like what I’m reading. The whole thing smells. But I don’t know. That’s what the trial is for. Though I do think the way the media is treating him before he’s been convicted is completely disgusting.
Perhaps I sympathize because I was a victim of a crime, accused of doing that crime against someone else, humiliated in front of tons of people, then turns out there was a plot against me. And I’m just a regular person, it’s got to be worse when you’re that high profile…


May 30th, 2011
1:20 pm

“….sez the guy who spent endless time railroading Bill Clinton.”

Aquasquirrel, there’s an application at McDonald’s with your name on it.

[...] this side of the Atlantic, Bob Barr, a columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, believes the DSK affair feeds into U.S. [...]


May 30th, 2011
4:39 pm

Apparently, Strauss-Kahn was very suspicious about getting set up by political foes. Yet when an overweight and unattractive (per his attorneys) Muslim cleaning woman with full head coverage who he didn’t even know proposes having a quickie, DSK says, “Sure, let’s do it!” If DSK is so sex-crazed he can’t avoid falling into a likely trap with an unknown unattractive woman, then he’s not wise enough to be president of anything, much less France.

morris wise

May 30th, 2011
6:45 pm

It makes one wonder how many men and women in the world would offer little resistance to the sexual assault of DSK if they would receive a few million in compensation. An educated guess would be 75% but if they were allowed to spit it out my guess would be all.

Gerald West

May 30th, 2011
9:33 pm

Thanks, Mr. Barr, for your objective view on a disgraceful episode in American justice. I wonder how many other accused persons have been subjected to the “perp” walk, and moldered in jail awaiting trial. Doesn’t our Constitution demand a fair and speedy trial for the accused?


May 30th, 2011
10:10 pm

I found some Strauss Kahn stories on this news site that seem reasonable:


May 31st, 2011
7:42 am

Set up! Sarkozy can now cruise to another term.

Very Very

May 31st, 2011
7:43 am

You have to give this Frenchman a pass. You see, de Frenchies have a particular genius with Je ne sais quois, (if’n you be a diggin’ what I be a intimatin’ this day). Ten bucks sez Lohan and Hilton do Maid’s Uniform videos next. I liked morris’s spit or swallow, nineties callback gag.

great stuff!

I also like the aquasquirrel name in vain gag. I mean, as Americans, if we can’t make fun of other people, then why did our founding bullies even bother, you know?

But for lee, he goes too far. He wants us to prosecute bankers for 2007-2009. There’s only five people in the world who have a grasp of exactly what the bankers did, and they can’t explain it to anyone. The bankers don’t even know what they did. There’s a teller in Peoria who knows something. Ask him.

But don’t write about what you can’t explain yourself, sir.

Just don’t go there. It makes you look like a …..(fill in the blank).


May 31st, 2011
8:25 am

I think there would be less celebration of his alleged guilt if there wasn’t so much “But he’s an important man!” crap coming from the French and certain liberals. They want him treated special, and that sort of attitude is going to raise the hackles of Americans. Would be nice if both sides would look for justice, not political triumph.

Ronnie Bonzo Reagun

May 31st, 2011
9:35 am

Trade ya a Stinger for an eight ball.

David Granger

May 31st, 2011
10:03 am

It would help the guy a lot if he hadn’t changed his story. At first, he denied anything happened and claimed to be having lunch with his daughter at the time. Then he admitted having sex with the maid, but insisted it was consensual. Add to that the French attitude that “he’s an important man…why should he have to obey the law?”…and he sure seems guilty.


May 31st, 2011
10:39 am

so, of the two–whose life will really be ruined? the girl can’t even read. don’t worry bob. strauss-kahn will be living the highlife before long and the girl will still be scrubbing toilets if even that. she will also be doomed to a solitary life because no muslim male will ever have her and she will never marry outside the faith.


May 31st, 2011
10:44 am

So we should just look the other way when the french media names a rape victim and demeans them, and Strauss-Kahn”s friends in high places try to buy her silence? yeah… sounds like just another poor shlub on the wrong side of the law. Please.

Come on

May 31st, 2011
11:28 am

Railroaded? Given the widely reported DNA results which apparently place his semen on her clothing, it’s getting pretty hard to see how he’s being “railroaded”. So he has to say it was consensual. For it to have been consensual we have to believe that a 32 year old Muslim woman from Guinea working as a chambermaid very quickly consented to have sex with a 62 year old man, and then just as quickly decided to immediately go to the police. Oh and he first gave the alibi that he was having lunch at the time, but then later admitted he had sex with the maid, but it was consensual. Railroaded? Yeah, right.


May 31st, 2011
11:30 am

The world is at the place where anyone with any money at all must travel with a companion to serve as a witness when people attempt to blackmail or extort them for alleged “sexual” offenses. Seems like the maid might well have figured on making a buck. I would opt for that determination more quickly than that a man of prestige, wealth and many women, would go out of his way to seduce a hotel maid.


May 31st, 2011
12:09 pm

Don’t worry about Strauss-Kahn so much Bob.

With all of his money, he’ll just dig Johnnie Cochran out of his grave, pay off a few judges, smear the heck out of the maid and be on the book tour in no time. That’s how it works with these people.


May 31st, 2011
12:37 pm

Given that the New York police department actually has a SVU (Special Victims Unit) department and they deal with sexual crimes on a regular basis, I have no doubt if they sent it to the Grand Jury – guess what? They must have the evidence to indite. Yes, he is innocent until proven guilty. But generally, prosecuters are not going to trial without that evidence – otherwise, big waste of time and money (especially in this day and age – money is tight).

What is so hard to believe that this man just “wanted it” and being powerful, is used to getting what he wants? Like Maria, I have worked in certain areas of business where it is just that way. It’s still a man’s world and a powerful man’s world at that.

Let’s see if the NYPD has enough evidence to convict during a trial. In the meantime, hell yes, keep him from fleeing the country. It sure beats the hell out of Riker’s for him and it’s his wife’s money that’s allowing that. Not everyone gets that privilege – it only comes with money.

Saint Joan

May 31st, 2011
12:51 pm

Mr. Barr,
Go back to writing about those foreskins. You are in your element with topics that don’t require critical thinking.


May 31st, 2011
1:14 pm

I wonder if “DSK” ran afoul of the upper tier of the Central Banking Cartel. It seems that such a top (Globalist) bank$ter would have had cover-up (via his ma$ters) if he was toe’ing the line.


May 31st, 2011
1:36 pm

“Railroaded”? A “disgraceful episode in American justice”? This is how American justice is supposed to work. DSK’s arrest was one of the few instances in recent memory where the abuse of the powerful over the powerless had legal consequences.

[...] Court attempting to stop the police from releasing information about the investigation. …In French or English, Strauss-Kahn Being RailroadedAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 739 news [...]

JF McNamara

May 31st, 2011
1:50 pm

Woe is me, he is rich and being treared like a commoner…


May 31st, 2011
2:07 pm

Now we see what ole Bob thinks of victums of molestation if they are on the lower scale of economics and maybe a little darker than the rich white abuser. I guess it would be proper to hide an abuser from the public and check to see if this maid was part of an elaborate setup maybe by her and the other maids at the hotel. You can never be too careful of a man like this who has a long reputation for this kind of thing. He reminds me of that cartoon cat Pepe La Pew.

John Daly

May 31st, 2011
2:15 pm

The right to innocent until proven guilty applies in the courts, it does not require me to hold it as a private citizen unless I am serving on a jury. Having said that, we must all be careful not to rush to judgement, (see Duke lacross players), but it also leaves me free to believe that O.J. Simpson got away with murder.

[...] Court attempting to stop the police from releasing information about the investigation. …In French or English, Strauss-Kahn Being RailroadedAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 753 news [...]


May 31st, 2011
3:03 pm

Couldn’t agree more. It is the timing of the thing too. Right before the G8 meeting. Times are a changing. I watch Eliot Spitzer ,who came pretty close to a ‘perp walk’ himself licking his chops on CNN the other night, defending this conduct by his old buddies. Then Bob Barr says the most rational thing I have heard on the subject. Would everybody please hold their positions, my head is spinning and someone has stole my wallet.

Loco Motive

May 31st, 2011
4:48 pm

Bob Barr to the rescue of another well heeled criminal! I love some of the observations Mr. Barr makes, e.g. “After the alleged offense occurred, Strauss-Kahn checked out of the hotel to catch a previously-booked flight to Paris. Police literally yanked him off the plane just before it was set to take off. ”
Every plane I’ve ever caught was previously booked. I don’t recall ever seeing the pilot checking passes and watching coins slide down the meter, so naturally, all flights are pre booked. And my Lord, they literally yanked an accused rapist off of the plane to prevent him from leaving the country. They should have called him and asked him to step off the plane. But wait, they couldn’t do that because, in the rush to get the hell out of Dodge, he left his cell phone at the hotel.

Mr. Barr goes on to say “Authorities then took their time in arranging a bail hearing while Strauss-Kahn was detained at the infamous Rikers Island.” Something tells me that there are plenty of folks at Riker’s Island who have waited as long or longer than DSK for a bail hearing. But being a rich politico, Mr. Barr apparently believes that DSK is entitled to use the express lane, and bypass the great unwashed masses as they wait for their bail hearings.

Another clue that DSK is being railroaded according to Mr. Barr is “The notorious and unnecessary “perp walk” to which Strauss-Kahn was subject has an unfortunately long tradition in federal white-collar prosecutions.” News Flash Mr. Barr! This isn’t white collar prosecution by the Feds; this is prosecution of an accused sexual deviant by New York’s finest.

Mr. Barr, I’m sure you’re just trying to earn a buck, but please don’t ask us to take a ride on this crazy railroading trip you are peddling.

poison pen

May 31st, 2011
5:32 pm

If it walks like a Duck,
Talks like a Duck,
Swims like a Duck,

then guess what.

The Freedom Bulletin

May 31st, 2011
6:50 pm

[...] awesome Bob Barr, former Congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate, wrote a great blog post on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case: “French-bashing is a pastime of increasing popularity [...]


May 31st, 2011
7:03 pm

Oh, come now. He was treated like a suspected criminal. You think suspected criminals are treated unfairly? That’s fine — there’s a real argument for that. We may have an unfair system.

But that’s not your complaint. Your complaint is that this rich white man was treated exactly the same as a bunch of poor black men who we suspect of crimes. And that’s not a complaint I’m willing to hear, frankly.

Rail against the system…that’s fine. It’s frequently broken. But rail because the broken system applies equally to everyone? That’s no argument — or at least not an argument I’d ever want to be seen making.


May 31st, 2011
7:12 pm

An interesting piece. I don’t like perp walks. Nor do I like prosecutors talking about their cases outside of a courtroom. On that subject, I remember riding down an elevator in the Russell building with you and your entourage, you with pancake makeup on, to appear on local news a couple of decades ago to rail on camera against someone you accused of a crime. You put on a pretty good show. Should I give you the benefit of the doubt and conclude that you’ve repented of your sins back then? I actually think you may have base on some of what you are writing.

b.a. baracus

May 31st, 2011
9:32 pm

the character murdock from the a-team was based upon the larger then life bob barr.


May 31st, 2011
10:45 pm

Just wait and see what happens if a true contrarian comes close to threatening the reign of the current US emperor. No, I don’t mean Romney, Gingrich, Palin, Pawlenty, Guliani, Cain, or any of the typical crowd of big government, big empire types. I mean a candidate that will really rock the boat and support REAL change.


May 31st, 2011
11:08 pm

God forbid a “celebrity” be treated like the rest of us. If I was accused of the same crime, do you think I would be in a luxury apartment right now. I would be lucky if I wasn’t shot by the cops for “resisting arrest”. I am a (l)ibertarian, but this blog post is one of the worst I have ever seen.


June 1st, 2011
6:58 am

I guess after defending Carribean dictators and warlords for money, Bob’s got a new client. C’est la vie.


June 2nd, 2011
4:29 pm


Thank you for this fair article, that is all a french man like myself wanted to read from a fellow american. And let the justice speaks.

And by the way, what with this :”“the Great Seducer” nickname ? I can assure you nobody in France call DSK like that …




June 2nd, 2011
4:51 pm

@ Moderate Line : excellent post

“The truth of it is our system is not fair in the truest sense of the word”

None really is, but I agree your system seems unfair to the rich and famous alleged perpetrator, as it will expose him far more than a modest suspect, and unfair in the process, as money is an indisputable advantage.

Our system is no better btw, because too often, when politicians are involved, you are not always sure it will not be buried. That said, for the moment things are changing, and you should be aware that if this trial would take place in France, DSK would not get a free pass. Have in mind that he would have to prove his innocence ( where prosecution has top prove his guilt in US) and the Jury in France would have to decide based on their “intimate conviction” (where they have to decide beyond “a reasonable doubt” in US)

So I’m not sure about Lee’s statement about french in need of a lesson in equality.

What we expect, is people of america respecting their own legal precepts : like a man is innocent until proven guilty.

We should be judging a man for a crime, not a symbol of oppression against a social class, a minority …




June 4th, 2011
10:20 pm

incredibly shameful actions by the city of New York and the USA…this country is making a fool of itself in front of the whole world with it’s rush to throw another white European male into prison and pronounce him guilty before he even has a trail, and parade him around like a trophy in handcuffs. We have no idea that he has done anything wrong, yet Oprah Winfrey/TMZ and all the american idol viewing americans are ready to jail him for life. Hopefully when he gets out of this he can find a better country to live in that the USA.