The New York Post reported this morning that friends of Dominique Strauss-Kahn have offered more than a million dollars of hush money to the impoverished family of the maid accusing him of rape. But according to a Reuters report, the family may not be the bribing type. The news wire tracked down the maid's family in a village in the Labe region of Guinea in West Africa and found them deeply skeptical of worldly wealth.
"In our family, we are above material things," said Mamoudou, a 50-year-old man who says he is the brother of DSK's accuser. (Reuters said it withheld his family name or the name of his home village "to protect the identity of the alleged assault victim.") He adds, "Even if you are a billionaire, we don't care. The most important thing for us is how you follow God's path."
The report in the Post cited a French businesswoman with "close ties" to DSK who said "they already talked with her family" and offered the money. She predicted that DSK would get off charges and "fly back to France." The Post suggested that the family's poverty would make them more likely to take the hush money offering. And the Reuters report largely confirms their meager living conditions: there's no electricity or water mains in their village and the per capita average annual income in the area is just over a dollar a day. Reportedly, the family can't even afford shoes.
However, the Reuters report reveals a family content with their lives and bound by a faith in Islam. "Religion loomed large in the family under his father known locally as an Islamic scholar, Mamoudou said. That background, he said, made it hard for them to relate to the world of global finance, luxury hotels and allegations of sexual misconduct in which his sister has found herself embroiled." He says he heard about the DSK scandal over the radio and believes his sister—who left the village after her husband died—is telling the truth. "If my sister is saying what she is saying, given how she was brought up, I believe her."
In any event, Strauss-Kahn wouldn't likely be off the hook even if the maid's family accepted hush money. If the maid refused to testify, the criminal case could still proceed. Law enforcement has reportedly obtained DNA evidence in the form of semen on the maid's clothing, though the AP reported on Tuesday that the New York Police Department has denied releasing that evidence.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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