Manhattan DA Vance Breaks Silence On Decision To Drop Strauss-Kahn Case

It Took Nearly A Day For Him To Speak, But Top Cop Explains Why He Opted Out

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. had a total change of heart on Wednesday. He finally explained, personally, why he had to drop sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

CBS 2 political reporter Marcia Kramer was outside the prosecutor’s office when he left for the night and got the exclusive interview.

He’s finally talking.

“We acted on the information available to us, and we responded, I think, appropriately to the information available to us,” Vance said.

After essentially saying “see ya later, bye” to CBS 2 reporters trying to get him to personally explain the decision to drop the charges against French banker Strauss-Kahn, Vance explained himself Wednesday evening.

Vance was saved by Tuesday’s earthquake from answering questions about Strauss-Kahn and he laid low for some time before being coaxed out by Kramer. That took work because she, along with several of her colleagues, struggled to get a word — any word — on the case from Vance for nearly a day.

Earlier Wednesday, security guards wouldn’t even let CBS 2 cameras through the door of Vance’s building.

Guard: “You’re not going to be able to use that camera in here.”

Kramer: “I’m here to interview Cy Vance.”

Guard: “Okay, but you have to make an appointment. We can’t ever bring this camera in here. You have to make an appointment.”

Kramer tried repeatedly Wednesday to get Vance to explain why he decided to drop sex assault charges against Strauss-Kahn, and she wasn’t the only one. CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne also tried in the morning outside of his home.

What’s more, CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey tried to get comment from Vance on Tuesday night.

Vance: “I can’t talk right now. I’m with my family.”

Hennessey: “Sir, you’re a public officer who has to answer questions about why you dropped the very controversial case, politically charged. I think you owe the American, New York voters some answers, don’t you?”

Vance: “Have a nice evening.”

Even Tuesday, after the case against Strauss-Kahn was formally dropped and seconds before the earthquake saved him, the district attorney was trying to limit his public on-camera exposure to the press.

“I’m going to make some remarks and then I’ll take a limited number of questions,” Vance said.

But all that changed Wednesday night.

Kramer: “Women’s groups feel, you know, that the office has been soft on sex crimes cases. Is there anything you’d like to say to them?”

Vance: “I think sex crimes cases are an important focus of our office. We have brought many indictments in tough sex crimes cases. I believe that our commitment to sex crimes cases, crimes against the immigrant community, crimes against the elderly, vulnerable victims are all cases that we take seriously.”

In hindsight, would the district attorney have done anything differently? Would he maybe have not pulled the former head of the International Monetary Fund and possible candidate for the presidency of France off that airplane back in May?

How did the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, go from being a credible witness to someone who didn’t tell the truth?

“You don’t know everything at the beginning of the case, obviously, that you may learn down the road. And information may not be available for some time. As lawyers, when information changes and facts change, we have an obligation to respond to those facts and reassess,” Vance said.

Even with the district attorney’s interview there will probably still be people with questions about what happened in the case and what happened in that hotel room.

Sources told Kramer that although court papers indicate the maid didn’t tell prosecutors the truth about some events, there’s no evidence she made false claims. So, it’s unlikely she will be charged with perjury.

Are you satisfied with DA Vance’s explanation for why he dropped the DSK case? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • Seema Kalia

    THIS is how things changed so quickly (2 mins)

  • Mike

    Tupac shakur went to trial in 1994 with much less evidence. The raked him through the mud and the accuser was obviously having consensual sex with him. I say the DA should have tried the case. Let him be acquitted or found guilty but let the facts come out in court. And I feel the da should answer why he treated this perpetrator with so much deference. (ie class race etc)


    What is the legal status of this lying woman with respect to being a citizen, or an illegal alien?

    • Reality Bites

      You are an idiot.

      Her legal status and whether or not she was raped are 2 different issues, right?

      The medical examination determined that she had physical wounds, consistent with a sex attack.
      Of course, for the cretins on this website, all you care about is her skin color and legal status.

  • Dana

    This story just made me lose all respect for CBS and Marsha Kramer. We don’t elect the district attorney to waste his time and taxpayer dollars answering bone-headed questions.

  • Marco

    At the risk of being ridiculed for pointing out the obvious….just how can a puny, out-of-shape 62 year old force himself on a 32 year old African Amazon?

    Right from the git-go, this was a perverse rush to judgment by law-enforcement and the loony-left media. Had anyone with any common sense actually done any vetting of the complainant in the beginning, this circus would never have occurred.

    Which begs the question….Is there a “war on men”?


    Hennessey: “Sir, you’re a public officer who has to answer questions about why you dropped the very controversial case, politically charged. I think you owe the American, New York voters some answers, don’t you?”

    Didn’t we already get told why he dropped the case? This woman lied about nearly EVERYTHING that they could actually prove. How do you take someone like that to trial? As a taxpayer, I’m NOT complaining. I am tired of millions of dollars being spent on trials only to have a plea deal come at the last minute or the defendant to be found not guilty because there wasn’t enough evidence.

  • Bob Fowler

    Would it have made everyone feel better to spend a million or 2 in prosecuting a case that was ultimately unwinnable? Even if DSK raped Diallo, proving that anything that she said was true would have been difficult to say the least, given her penchant for not being totally honest.

    Whereas rape is not about the victim, nor their past, convincing a jury that a woman with a history of lying for money wasn’t doing it again. Based upon the endless debates, it is clear to see that many have reasonable doubt. We like to think of DSK as the perp, but what if he is actually the victim of an attempt to extort money?

    • ENOUGH

      Couldn’t agree more. Let’s also not forget that women like Ms. Diallo make it harder for REAL rape victims to come forward and be believed. I truly don’t think she was a victim at all…

      • mym

        agreed, and as already pointed out by many others what about the Duke accuser? Almost, if not as important, what about Tawana Brawly? I know I’m showing my age with that one but all these women – and more obviously – make it more likely that someone with a real rape could be denied justice. Shame on them!

  • Emma

    Journalists are supposed to question elected officials on the public’s behalf. It is something that should happen more often. The D.A.’s office submitted a motion to the court advocating their position that they could not prosecute the case. It was in their best interest to paint the complaining witness in as poor a light as possible. It is good for the independent press to try and get clear answers and explanations from the decisionmakers.

  • David Ruffin

    William Kennedy Smith actually went to trial, quick acquital – and there was sex. The NYPD cops went to trial, essentially acquitted….who knows if there was sex? The Duke boys were smeared – and it turned out there was NO sex. And now…..DSK did the perp walk, and there was some sex. Kobe Bryant, serious charges, some sex, charges dropped. In all the cases……acquitals, or charges dropped. Seems to me that the prosecutors need to get their acts together and stop believing every hysterical woman who pretends that something consensual wasn’t consensual. The exception being the Duke case, where the woman was a psycho and the DA was also a psycho. Now, a disbarred psycho.

    • mym

      wow! This has got to be the best analysis/comment I have seen on this subject. You moved me to comment on this website – something I never thought I would do. Maybe YOU should be a reporter. Maybe, with any luck you could replace some of those “jounalists”mentioned in this article.

      • mym

        forgot to add that there’s one only case missing from your analysis -great as it is – IS ANYBODY IN THIS STATE OLD ENOUGH TO REMEBR TAWANA BRAWLEY???? in that case according to Wikipedia she was “found seemingly unconscious and unresponsive, lying in a garbage bag several feet from an apartment where she had once lived. Her clothing was torn and burned, her body smeared with feces”.

  • Ivee

    I take exception to the unfair headline and the wording of the story which implies that Mr. Vance has intentionally been silent on this matter. Indeed, yesterday afternoon, he started to hold a press conference — the purpose of which is for the press to question the DA — and then we had an earthquake, and the press conference was curtailed.

    It’s only the next day.

    Slanted journalism, anyone?

  • Concerned Citizen

    Wait a minute – I don’t get it. Didn’t he publish a 25-page motion that goes into detail about why he’s dismissing, including medical records, DNA, changing stories, and investigative steps? That’s a fact – so how can you ask whether he’s “under an obligation to go into detail with the public”? He’s already DONE that. Your story is unbelievably misleading and does a disservice to your readers. Not to mention you just need to read the tone of your reporters’ questions to see how rude they were. Way to simply invent a story out of whole cloth.

    • P A

      Well put.

    • Rudy

      Very Well Said!

  • joey from B'hurst

    The defense threw in some “red herrings” about the case, about the time she reported the case. Obviously, she was traumatized after being raped, and did not have counsel to get her wits together to make a bona fide statement. Similarly, if you are involved in a car accident, or a victim of a robbery….can you really recall all the facts. Remember, you now become the victim, if if it all does not match up, like in this case.

  • NYRose

    The Bible says to not give preference in a court of law either to the rich or the poor. The best is to let facts speak for themselves, which facts I hope influenced DA Vance in his decision to drop the case.. Was Ms. Diallo creating a story for her benefit, but she got it convoluted and it did not jibe; or did DSK, who might be used to different treatment in his country, take advantage of her? Do the French accept different moral standards than Americans? Maybe both are a bit guilty. It would be great to find out some day, but meanwhile, leave the DA alone and here’s hoping he does a good job in his role as DA. The DA owes the journalist no info and I personally need no explanation from the DA’s office.

  • Mike Icyrebel

    wow, the writer of this story sure has her head up her bottom….if you need to ask why the case was dropped, especially after all the information out there is showing that she lied and continues to lie, then there is no hope for the media… …too many people are playing the rape card today, its sad because it lessons the believeability of future victims… maybe this reporter will ask why the charges were dropped against the duke lacrosse players as well…some people are so brain dead…

    • Jeannine

      She was asking some dumb questions. I mean read the facts listed on the motion. The woman may have been attacked, but if she consistently lied and misled the DA’s office, along with the media, how do we know what’s right or wrong? The DA should be commended for fiercely acting on the supposed facts when the accusations were made and even more so now that they can’t establish any credibility for this woman. It’s about time politicians think about the tax payers before they drag out an expensive trial where the credibility of victim is at issue.

      • ENOUGH

        It’s mainstream media, what do you expect? News isn’t news anymore, it’s an opinion column. I am so tired of being told what to think and how to feel. Sad thing is, there are a lot of stupid people out there who will take anything said on the news or by a newscaster at face value…

  • worried

    Yes, of course he owes the public an explanation. Women who may suffer such an assault need to know if they will be protected and stood up for.
    Even people who have committed a homicide and the facts do not disputet this get and are entitled to a TRIAL of their peers. Why not Ms. Diallo?

    Several young men who DID not attack the Central park jogger years ago
    spent 14 yeas of their lives in prison. Kahn-Strauss should have been
    duly tried.

    It is a glaring twisting of the interpretation of the laws that should protect women and girls. All women and girls regardless of the economic status, race, or citiizenship.

    What was done was offensive and insulting and frightening to most women.

    • Heather

      What was done? You don’t know what was done. It’s the DA’s responsibility to seriously investigate charges made my victims (which was done outright initially) and the DA is equally responsible to continue to uncover facts. In this case, the victim could not be trusted with her statements, so at the end of the day we don’t know what was done. Based on the inconsistencies that were uncovered, it isn’t ridiculous that the DA submitted a motion to dismiss. The prosecution should put on a case that they are confident they can prove. They can’t just be prosecuting people willy-nilly.

      • ENOUGH

        @worried, you make it seem like women have no rights in ny. Did you forget that two cops were ferociously prosecuted by our DAs office for rape only a few months ago? Just because you’re not happy with Vances decision doesn’t mean you should try to make it seem like the DAs office doesn’t care about womens rights. As far as I see it, all a woman has to do is accuse someone of something and the DAs office jumps to help, I actually feel sorry for the men of manhattan. BTW, I’m a woman…

  • Jack E. Yakana

    Mr. Vance must tell the public why he decided to drop the case against DSK especially when reports indicated that there were DSK’s semen found at the premises where the rape allegedly occured.

    • Laura

      Jack – Mr. Vance DID tell the public why he decided to drop the case – 25 pages worth of explaination. Stalking the DA to get him to answer questions he’s already answered isn’t journalism, it’s paparazzi. These reporters are either shockingly ignorant, or are counting on their adience to be shockingly ignorant. Either way, it’s unprofessional and in poor taste.

  • Emma

    So the Manhattan D.A.’s office now lumps journalists in with stalkers? No wonder they have so much trouble prosecuting so many cases they are out of touch with reality. Vance does owe New Yorkers an explanation. I suspect he will dodge the questions on this specific case, but soon enough they will botch another high profile case and will have to answer questions then.

  • ruben

    DSK is the French version of OJ Simpson…Money talks

  • Robert P. Bowles

    For goodness sake, just drop all the high drama news coverage!


    Mr. Vance is the Manhattan DA. He knows full well if legally there is a case or not. I’m sure he will answer the public’s demands all in good time, but is it really the public’s legal right to know, I’m not sure.

    • alwaystrouble

      shut up

    • maya

      Who is he paid to represent? “The People.”

    • karlson

      This is not a closed hearing and we are not dealing with “state secrets”, or are we?

      The idea that DSK was set up has been put forward. He was going to run for political office. What an opportunity to take him down. Just like Elliot Spitzer was taken down after he was about to blow the whistle on Wall Street. The powers that be would not allow that to happen. So they got Spitzer first, before he got them. Spitzer did have the goods on the insider trading and other illegal activities in the financial markets. Spitzer also made a name for himself as the “Sheriff of Wall Street”. He was getting to close to the thieves that have robbed and stolen this country blind.

  • maya

    We live in a Twilight Zone world. Reality means nothing. Money means everything. Some lives are just considered more valuable than others.

  • JMK

    Good, CBS means Communist Broadcasting System

    • i have a name for you


blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live