By Basil Katz and Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. immigration authorities will fight a request for documents by a hotel maid pursuing a civil case against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was cleared of criminal charges that he attempted to rape her.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a filing on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court that it had been subpoenaed by the maid, Guinean immigrant Nafissatou Diallo, seeking recordings of phone conversations between her and a detainee in Arizona.
The subpoena is one of several requests by Diallo's lawyers for documents from a variety of law enforcement agencies, including the Manhattan district attorney's office and the New York City Police Department.
The subpoenas seek medical records, witness accounts and investigative notes, as well as evidence of leaks to the media. Attorneys for Strauss-Kahn and for Diallo did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Diallo accused Strauss-Kahn in May 2011 of attacking her in his Manhattan hotel suite. His arrest and resignation from the IMF derailed his plans to seek the French presidency.
Prosecutors eventually dismissed the charges after growing concerned about Diallo's credibility. Strauss-Kahn has admitted to a sexual encounter but maintains it was consensual.
Diallo filed a civil suit against him in Bronx County Supreme Court in August 2011, alleging physical, emotional and psychological injuries and seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Strauss-Kahn responded with a defamation countersuit in May.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan, representing ICE, said in Tuesday's filing that sovereign immunity protects the federal agency from turning over the records. The Manhattan district attorney and the NYPD also filed papers earlier opposing the subpoenas.
The ICE subpoena seeks audio tapes of several conversations in a Guinean dialect between Diallo and Amara Tarawally, who was detained in an Arizona facility. The recordings became a source of controversy when The New York Times, citing an unnamed source, reported Diallo suggested to Tarawally she was after Strauss-Kahn's money.
Diallo's lawyers had a translator listen to the tapes during a meeting with prosecutors and insisted she made no mention of Strauss-Kahn's wealth.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)