Alan Dershowitz: Why DSK Will Settle

dershowitz-OVNB02-vl
Gail Oskin / WireImage-Getty Images

What do you think about the Strauss-Kahn case so far?

This case is going to be resolved outside the courtroom. There are three distinctive parties in this case, all of whom have different interests. There is the prosecution, Cy Vance; he wants to go to trial and he wants to get a conviction. Clearly the defendant wants to avoid trial and wants to see if he can work out a deal that’s acceptable to him. And my sense is that the victim would like a big payday. Why does she want to make a deal now? Why not wait until the conviction, and then sue? [Because] the defendant doesn’t have much money. All the money is his wife’s money. And if you win a suit—let’s assume she wins a $10 million judgment against him. She’s not going to collect it. He’ll go bankrupt. Whereas if she settles the case, the wife pays up. So the difference is between getting, say, a million right now from the wife, or $10 million from the husband which the lawyer has to spend the rest of his life chasing. It’s in DSK’s best interest to settle this case. It’s only not in Vance’s interest to settle the case. You saw in the paper that the lawyer for the victim is “working together” with the prosecution. Nonsense. He’s probably working together with the defense. They have a joint interest.

Do you think they realize that?

I do. The problem is the high-wire dance is going to be very hard to orchestrate here. Because nobody can say: “I will give you a million dollars, $2 million, $3 million, and you have to not testify.” That’s obstruction of justice, that’s a crime. So the request essentially has to come from the victim. Did you ever hear of the concept of the Shabbos goy? The Shabbos goy is when an Orthodox Jew wants the light to be on, on a Saturday, and he sees a Gentile. He can’t ask the Gentile to turn on the light, because that would be a sin. But he can say to the Gentile, “Boy, it’s really dark here.” And then the Gentile has to come up with the idea, “Hmmm, it would be nice if I turned on the light.” [The defense lawyer], because he’s an Orthodox Jew, understands that he needs a Shabbos goy here. He needs somebody who will understand that he can’t ask for something that he wants. And what he wants is for this witness to go away.

What would you suggest if you were on the defense team?

Make a deal. Other than that, they have to come up with a consistent defense. I think their big mistake is they first suggested that maybe he had an alibi [but] the timeline didn’t work. Then he said it was consensual. So they have to come up with a consistent, coherent defense theory that explains to the jury why this woman would have consented to having a sexual encounter with a much older man. And if he makes the consent defense, he almost certainly will have to testify. And if he testifies, he can then be asked about his prior encounters.

Say he gets convicted. Whats he looking at in terms of time?

A couple years in a very un-nice place. He’d have been much better off doing this in the District of Columbia.

Join the Discussion