Pressure builds to prosecute DSK case

A New York state senator and a coalition of women's rights groups and community leaders gathered Sunday to defend the alleged victim of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and demand the prosecution continue the sexual assault case.

“We are here to ask the District Attorney to do his job. We ask (DA) Vance to let the victim have her day in court,” said New York Democratic Senator Bill Perkins at a news conference in Harlem.

Accompanied by representatives from the African American, Muslim and Latino communities in New York, including Miss Guinea USA, Perkins criticized the prosecution for reports they might abandon the case because of the credibility of the Sofitel employee who brought charges against Strauss-Kahn in May.

“A dismissal would discourage victims from coming forward for fear that they themselves would be put on trial,” Perkins said, adding that Strauss-Kahn’s credibility should also be in question following charges of attempted rape in France.

“There appears to be enough compelling physical evidence in support of the victim’s allegations for the District Attorney’s office to move forward with the pursuit of this case,” he said.

Also present at the press conference was a member of the New York State Assembly Eric Stevenson. He said the idea that the prosecutor decides not to pursue a complaint “is a bad sign of the American judicial system.”

“She represents us,” said Virginia Montague, president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. “We expect the district attorney to stand firm,” she added.

Zenaida Mendez, founder of the National Dominican Women’s Caucus, declared that, “the world is watching what the United States does with this case.”

Released under oath in a surprise move over a week ago after spending several days in jail and then weeks under house arrest, Strauss-Kahn is accused of seven charges, including attempted rape, punishable by ten years in prison, for which he has pleaded not guilty.

The case suffered a major blow when prosecutors said the maid lied in sworn testimony in the case, and gave false information on tax and asylum application forms, including about an alleged gang rape in Guinea.

But in an open letter to Manhattan District Attorney Vance on July 6 and distributed during the press conference, Senator Perkins recalled that “none of what is mentioned in the media says this woman was not raped nor does it justify that the courts and the judicial system abandon her.”

Perkins said he has not been in touch with the alleged victim.

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Ghosn trial may be delayed until next year: Japanese media

Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn's trial, which was expected to begin in September, will be delayed, local media said Saturday, hinting that it may not start this year.

Ghosn trial may be delayed until next year: Japanese media
Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn leaving a detention centre on Thursday. Photo: Behrouz Mehri / AFP
The 65-year-old tycoon, currently on bail, is preparing for his trial on four charges of financial misconduct ranging from concealing part of his salary from shareholders to syphoning off Nissan funds for his personal use.
The Tokyo District Court had proposed to start his trial in September during its pre-trial meetings with his defence lawyers and prosecutors, news reports said, quoting unnamed sources.
But the court told the lawyers and prosecutors on Friday that it had retracted the plan without proposing a new time frame, Kyodo News said, adding that the move could mean the trial will not start this year.
The court also decided not to separate the trial for Ghosn, his close aide Greg Kelly and Nissan — all indicted on the charge of violating the financial instruments law by underreporting Ghosn's compensation, according to Kyodo.
His lawyers have so far demanded he be tried separately from Nissan and have voiced fears he will not receive a fair trial.
The Sankei Shimbun also said prosecutors gave up filing an appeal to the Supreme Court against his bail, a move to erasing a chance of his return to jail unless he is arrested again on fresh charges. Immediate confirmation of the news reports was not available.
On Thursday, Ghosn exited his Tokyo detention centre after accepting bail of $4.5 million under strict conditions, including restrictions on seeing his wife.
His case has captivated Japan and the business community with its multiple twists and turns, as well as shone a spotlight on the Japanese justice system which critics say is overly harsh.
Ghosn denies all the charges, with a spokesperson for the executive saying on Monday he would “vigorously defend himself against these baseless accusations and fully expects to be vindicated”.
In a statement hours after his release, Ghosn said: “No person should ever be indefinitely held in solitary confinement for the purpose of being forced into making a confession.”
The dramatic case has thrown international attention onto the Japanese justice system, derided by critics as “hostage justice” as it allows prolonged detention and relies heavily on suspects' confessions.