Once Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a shoo-in for the next president of France - but those heady days are long gone.
His every move is followed by paparazzi. And even though the case that put his adventurous sex life in the open was dismissed by the New York courts, the hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo is suing him in a civil court, where she expects to win massive damages. Once he was a shoo-in for the next president of France; those heady days are long gone.
Now Edward Epstein has written an “investigative” piece for the New York Review of Books, which attempts to prove that the alleged rape was a set-up masterminded by Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, the UMP. Using footage from the hotel’s security cameras and telephone records, presumably fed by DSK’s defenders, Epstein constructs a ripping story of entrapment.
He makes much of a supposed “victory dance” caught on CCTV by two low-level hotel employees after the police were brought in to hear Diallo on the day of the alleged assault, using it to suggest that Accor, the French chain managing the hotel, were involved in bringing Sarkozy’s most dangerous rival down. (The employees, however, have said they were discussing sport.)
Alas for DSK, even his closest friends and political supporters aren’t buying Epstein’s thesis. The latest one to dismiss it is Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, a Socialist MP who was widely tipped be part of a 2012 DSK cabinet, and who once carried the can for DSK in a party financing scandal. But Paris is almost entirely unanimous on one point: that Epstein’s very readable piece is predicated on an assumption of competence by the UMP dirty tricks department that’s nothing short of fantastic. “That lot couldn’t conspire their way out of a paper bag” is the consensus.
Is sex compulsory in France? A man who “mostly’’ stopped having sexual relations with his wife of 21 years has just been fined 10,000 euros damages by an Aix-en-Provence court on appeal, confirming a similar 2009 ruling. Two sets of judges concurred in finding that the man’s wedding vows had not been followed, even though he “occasionally” still performed, and that his wife’s rights and expectations were not respected. The couple are now divorced in a ruling setting the fault 100 per cent on him. Can damages for unsatisfying performances be far behind?
© Telegraph Media Group & Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, 2012