How to keep the key legal issues in focus as the story develops over the coming weeks
If you are inclined to follow the startling sex assault case against International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, my humble advice to you is to focus more on the evidence and less on the complex issue of immunity rules as they relate to quasi-governmental officials. It's obviously very early on in this case, and I reserve the right to be wrong, but my gut tells me that Strauss-Kahn's legal team -- which includes the ubiquitous Benjamin Brafman -- either won't assert an immunity defense or won't prevail with it in American courts even if they do.
On the other hand, it is deeply significant that Strauss-Kahn underwent Sunday what his lawyers called "a scientific forensic examination" of his body even as prosecutors were moving for a court order for a search warrant that would allow them to check out his clothes. ABC News called Sunday's testing "a forensic imaging exam" but it doesn't really matter what you call it. In a he-said/she-said rape case, without any obvious eyewitnesses, this is the stuff that typically determines the outcome. In other words, with the defendant already "examined" in this fashion, the case (here's the complaint) may already be over but for all the shouting.