Strauss-Kahn, maid deal kept under wraps

Nafissatou Diallo, who claims she was sexually assaulted by former IMF cheif Dominique Strauss-Kahn, exits a courthouse after the case was settled on Mondayin New York.

Nafissatou Diallo, who claims she was sexually assaulted by former IMF cheif Dominique Strauss-Kahn, exits a courthouse after the case was settled on Mondayin New York.   | Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

The former French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the hotel housekeeper who accused him of sexually assaulting her last year have agreed to settle her lawsuit stemming from their sexual encounter, a judge said on Monday.

The settlement, whose terms were not disclosed, was announced at a hearing in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, 13 long kilometres from the headline-grabbing case’s genesis: a 28th-floor suite at the Sofitel hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Justice Douglas E. McKeon entered the courtroom at 2:15 p.m., and said a deal had been finalised in his presence about 10 minutes earlier. Both sides agreed that the settlement would be confidential.

The housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, who was at the hearing and went public with her identity last year, said afterward: “I thank everyone all over the world and everyone at the court. God bless you all.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who was not in court, was arrested in May 2011 after Ms. Diallo told detectives that he had sexually assaulted her in his suite. Mr. Strauss-Kahn was indicted on charges including attempted rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

The arrest threw Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s career in turmoil: He resigned his post as head of the International Monetary Fund in disgrace and his rumoured candidacy for the French presidency was abandoned before it could begin.

He was first held in jail without bail, and won his release to house arrest only under extraordinary conditions.

But the criminal case began to crumble when questions of Ms. Diallo’s credibility convinced the Manhattan district attorney’s office that it could not reasonably persuade a jury to trust her account. The case was dismissed in August 2011; court papers at the time described Ms. Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, as having been “persistently, and at times inexplicably, untruthful in describing matters of both great and small significance”.

But by then, Ms. Diallo had filed her civil suit in the Bronx, where she lives.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn has said the sex with Ms. Diallo was consensual, though in a French television interview after the criminal case was dismissed, he acknowledged that the encounter was “an error” and “a moral failure” that he would forever regret.

Mr. McKeon also announced in court that Ms. Diallo and The New York Post had settled a lawsuit she filed against the newspaper for having reported that she worked as a prostitute. The newspaper cited anonymous sources.

Her lawyer, Kenneth P. Thompson, said outside of court that she was eager to close the book on a painful chapter in her life.

“Ms. Diallo is a strong and courageous person who never lost faith in our system of justice,” Mr. Thompson said. “And with today’s resolution, Diallo can move on with the rest of her life.”

French media outlets reported in November that Mr. Strauss-Kahn had agreed to pay $6 million to settle the lawsuit with Ms. Diallo. But one of his lawyers, William W. Taylor III, said soon afterward that the reports were “completely false” and that the figure was “off by orders of magnitude”.

After the court appearance on Monday, Mr. Taylor issued a statement on his client’s behalf saying he was pleased to resolve the lawsuit. He declined to comment further.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn still has unresolved legal troubles in France, where he was charged in Lille in October 2011 with participating in an organised prostitution ring, a result of sex parties that he attended. Eight other men were also charged. — New York Times News Service

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2020 10:00:11 PM |

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