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Manhattan DA Said to Add Women to Strauss-Kahn Prosecution Team

Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. added two female prosecutors to the sexual-assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief, according to a person familiar with the matter.

John “Artie” McConnell has been lead prosecutor against Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested and charged with attempted rape and sexual assault of a maid on May 14 at the Sofitel hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, recently appointed chief of the newly formed Hate Crimes Unit, joined the prosecution team against Strauss-Kahn, the person said. Assistant District Attorney Ann Prunty is now working on the case as well, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because staffing decisions aren’t public.

“It’s a serious case. It’s also a press case,” said New York defense attorney Thomas Curran, a former Manhattan prosecutor. “The DA’s office is going to bring whatever assets it has to bear on that case. And having people like Joan and Ann available is the envy of any prosecutor’s office.”

Strauss-Kahn’s defense team includes New York attorney Benjamin Brafman and Washington lawyer William Taylor III. The financier’s wife, Anne Sinclair, posted his $1 million bail and a $5 million bond, his lawyers and bail bondsman Ira Judelson have said.

Erin Duggan, chief spokeswoman for the district attorney, declined to comment on the staffing.

Murder Cases

Prunty has been involved in the case against Nicholas Brooks, son of the songwriter Joseph Brooks, who was indicted for murder in January in the December death of swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay. In 2008, she prosecuted the rape and torture of a Columbia Journalism School student.

Illuzzi-Orbon was involved in the 2010 case against Natavia Lowery, who was found guilty of murdering her employer, Linda Stein. Illuzzi-Orbon also prosecuted rapper Lil Wayne, who pleaded guilty to a gun charge in 2009. She is a graduate of New York University and St. John’s University School of Law.

Daniel Alonso, chief assistant district attorney, appeared with McConnell for Strauss-Kahn’s initial court appearance on May 16. Lisa Friel, chief of the sex crimes unit, second-seated McConnell for a later bail hearing. John Irwin, deputy chief of the trial division, also has been involved in the case.

Karen Friedman Agnifilo, chief of the trial division at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, recused herself from the case. Her husband, Marc Agnifilo, is a lawyer with Brafman & Associates and has been working on Strauss-Kahn’s defense.

Brafman’s clients have included pop star Michael Jackson, Gambino crime family underboss Salvatore “Sammy Bull” Gravano, rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs, and former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress.

The case is People v. Strauss-Kahn, 1225782, Criminal Court of the City of New York, New York County (Manhattan).

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