Strauss-Kahn lawyer says sex with maid was consensual

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 24, 2011 3:40 PM

By Noeleen Walder

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn had consensual sex with the hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault, his defense lawyer said on Tuesday, adding that their comparative sizes would have ruled out a forcible encounter

"This encounter was quick, it was consensual and she was a willing participant," defense attorney Benjamin Brafman told Reuters in an interview.

A New York judge on Tuesday dismissed criminal sexual assault charges against Strauss-Kahn, 62, after prosecutors said they had lost faith in the credibility of his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, a 32-year-old hotel maid from Guinea.

Diallo accused him of forcing her to have oral sex when she went into his $3,000-a-day suite in New York's Sofitel Hotel to clean it and he emerged naked to attack her. Strauss-Kahn denied her allegations.

Prosecutors gave up on the case because of contradictions in Diallo's account of what happened immediately following the sexual encounter on May 14 and because of lies about her past.

Brafman said he found her story implausible largely because "she towers over him."

"In a one-on-one she would probably win if this turned into a fist fight. She is not a small person," Brafman said.

Kenneth Thompson, a lawyer for Diallo, objected to Brafman's characterization. "I will not dignify Mr. Brafman's disgraceful comments about Ms. Diallo," Thompson said.

Diallo never claimed Strauss-Kahn threatened her, Brafman said, making it hard to believe that a silver-haired politician 30 years her senior could have physically overpowered a taller woman with a job that requires physical endurance.

The defense lawyer estimated Diallo is 5-foot-11 -- taller than Strauss-Kahn at 5-foot-7.

"The fact that he doesn't have a mark on him, the fact that she does not have any trauma of any kind makes it impossible for this to have happened the way she claimed it happened," Brafman said.

"There's not a mark on him and she is a very capable woman physically of being able ... to resist a forcible advance of someone like him," he said.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Daniel Trotta and by Anthony Boadle)