Attorney: Strauss-Kahn may take civil court action

AP News
Posted: Aug 23, 2011 8:03 PM
Attorney: Strauss-Kahn may take civil court action

Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn might take legal action in civil court against the hotel maid who accused him of sexually assaulting her in a now-dismissed criminal case and in her ongoing civil suit, one of his lawyers said Tuesday.

Strauss-Kahn, a former French presidential candidate, could file his own claims to counter housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo's lawsuit, "and that's certainly a consideration," lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Because she did lie, and he has suffered enormous damages as a result of those lies."

A court Tuesday dismissed the attempted-rape and other charges against Strauss-Kahn, who resigned his IMF post, spent five days in jail and then spent about six weeks on high-priced house arrest before being freed from it July 1. The dismissal came after prosecutors said they couldn't pursue the case because of doubts about Diallo's credibility and a lack of other evidence to prove a forced sexual encounter.

Diallo wasn't truthful with prosecutors about several aspects of her life and changed her account of what she did right after when she claims she was attacked, prosecutors said.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have long said the encounter at a luxurious Manhattan hotel, though brief, was consensual. But while Diallo's account of it has been recounted in interviews, in her lawsuit and in the now-defunct prosecution, the married Strauss-Kahn doesn't want to detail his version of what happened, Brafman said.

"What happened in that room, so long as we have now confirmed that it wasn't criminal, is really not something that needs to be discussed publicly," Brafman said in the AP interview. "You can engage in behavior that you're not proud of, and maybe some people might consider it inappropriate _ it doesn't mean that you committed a crime. And it's not something that you may want to discuss, at the end of the day."

Diallo's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, didn't immediately respond to an email inquiry about the possibility of Strauss-Kahn filing his own claims in civil court. Thompson has said it's "utter nonsense" to say the encounter was consensual. Earlier Tuesday, he blasted the dismissal of the case, saying prosecutors "would not allow a woman to have her day in court."

Diallo says Strauss-Kahn chased her down in his hotel suite on May 14, grabbed her crotch, propelled her to the ground and forced her to perform oral sex. His semen was found on her uniform, and a gynecological exam found a mark that her lawyer holds up as evidence of an attack but prosecutors say could have resulted from a number of other things.

From the start, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers considered her account implausible, partly because neither she nor Strauss-Kahn had bruises reflecting a forceful attack, Brafman said.

The Associated Press does not usually name people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, has done.


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