Accused IMF Rapist's Electronic Hotel Key May Damn or Save Him

Everyone's used to the ubiquitous swiping hotel key card—but what you might not know is that your key holds a history of every time that door closes. And when you're accused of raping the maid, this record's important.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, French (former) head of the IMF, is charged with forcing himself on his maid when she was called to his room for a routine linen job. While the matter of what happened inside—rape or no rape—is disputed, his room's door has an account that can't be argued, the New York Times reports: "[The hotel] would have a record of her using the key to gain access," explains a rep from a hotel key manufacturing firm. "They should have a record of the door remaining open for X period of time, and the door lock being actuated again. The system can differentiate between the guest's card key and the housekeeper's master key."

So the key could help piece together the scene. Was the door shut behind the maid at the time she alleges? If so, that's imprisonment. Was it left open or ajar in accordance with hotel policy? If so, for how long? These mundane door details from a little plastic card might either set Strauss-Kahn free or send him to prison.

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