Alan Dershowitz, the famous law professor and criminal defence lawyer who served as an adviser to OJ Simpson, predicts that Dominique Strauss-Kahn will settle with the maid who accused him of attempted rape for about $3 million.
He told Le Figaro that the maid would wind up getting more money — around $2 to $3 million — if she settles with DSK ASAP. However if she waits for a conviction and then sues, she’ll likely end up in years of litigation and wind up with less, or nothing.
But there’s one problem with settling now. It’s obstruction of justice if DSK pays off the maid and asks her not to testify.
“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.”
He thinks the DSK defence and the maid’s lawyer will work something out to skirt the legal issues for the simple reason that it’s in everyone’s best interest to settle.
It’s in the maid’s best interest to settle for 3 reasons, says Dershowitz. All of them have to do with her getting less money if she waits:
- “It is notoriously difficult to recover the money after winning a civil suit… In the case of OJ Simpson, his wife’s family has not received a penny.”
- DSK could declare bankruptcy, and she’ll get nothing. Dershowitz told Newsweek: “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.”
- DSK could divorce his wife and in the process, give her all of the money, so the maid will get nothing. Dershowitz told Le Figaro: Who even knows if the couple does not decide to divorce? Anne Sinclair could keep all his money and lawyers of the complainant will never recover their money.
“[The maid and her lawyer] may want to see justice done, but ultimately, money is more important,” he told Le Figaro.
He also decoded what the news stories about each side’s strategy REALLY mean. In the news, the maid’s defence team and DSK’s defence team might sound like they’re enemies. Really, though, the maid’s lawyer is probably negotiating a settlement with DSK’s defence right now. And those news stories are just part of the negotiations.
“When [the maid’s lawyer] said he was cooperating with the prosecutor, it was just a message to the defence and said he expected an offer,” says Dershowitz. “If he really cooperated, he would not bother to specify. For now, we hear a lot of messages sent from both sides.”
In other words, when the maid told her lawyer that “all of DSK’s power and wealth will not keep the truth from getting out,” for example, what she really might’ve been saying was, “I want another $1 million.”
And when DSK’s team announced that he has evidence that undermines the maid’s credibility, that was probably him saying, “Not a chance in hell,” and when the maid warned about testifying at the trial, that might’ve cost DSK another $1 million.
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