Nation/World

Court date in NY hotel maid’s suit vs Strauss-Kahn

NEW YORK (AP) — The outcome of a New York City hotel housekeeper’s sexual assault lawsuit against former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn may soon be decided in court.

Lawyers for both are to meet at 2 p.m. Monday for a key court date to update a judge on the status of settlement discussions. The maid, Nafissatou Diallo, is expected to be there, but Strauss-Kahn is not.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers acknowledged late last month there had been settlement talks, though they dismissed as “flatly false” a French newspaper report that Strauss-Kahn had agreed to pay $6 million. Diallo’s lawyers have declined to comment.

Both Diallo’s and Strauss-Kahn’s lives have been upended since the day in May 2011 that she reported he forced her to perform oral sex and tried to rape her after she went to clean his room. He said the encounter was consensual.

Diallo, 33, a Guinean immigrant and widowed mother of a teenage girl, was whisked into protective custody with her daughter for weeks in a hotel. She hasn’t returned to the job she held for three years at the Sofitel New York; she is on workers’ compensation, the hotel chain says. Her lawyers have said Strauss-Kahn tore a ligament in her shoulder, which he disputes.

Strauss-Kahn, 63, was arrested and charged with attempted rape and other crimes and resigned from his IMF job. He soon found himself recast from promising, if philandering, French presidential contender to transcontinental sexual suspect. Since Diallo came forward, other sexual assault and prostitution allegations have emerged against him.

Though some were withdrawn or deemed too old for prosecutors to pursue, he faces aggravated pimping charges related to a suspected prostitution ring run from a French luxury hotel. He says he attended “libertine” gatherings but wasn’t aware anyone was paid for sex. A French court is due to rule Dec. 19 on his bid to get those charges thrown out.

Adding further turmoil to his personal life, Strauss-Kahn and his wife, journalist Ann Sinclair, have separated. Strauss-Kahn has been trying to rebuild his professional stature by giving speeches at international conferences and reportedly setting up a consulting company in Paris.

Manhattan prosecutors dropped their case against Strauss-Kahn in August 2011, saying they had developed doubts about Diallo’s trustworthiness. They said she had wavered in recounting her movements after the alleged attack and lied to them about her past, including a convincing but fictitious story of being gang-raped before.

Diallo’s attorneys said her civil case would prove her right about Strauss-Kahn.

“It didn’t happen with the DA, but we intend to vindicate Ms. Diallo’s rights,” one of her lawyers, Kenneth P. Thompson, said in March.

Strauss-Kahn’s side was no less blunt.

“We have maintained from the beginning that the motivation of Mr. Thompson and his client was to make money,” William W. Taylor III and other Strauss-Kahn attorneys said when Diallo sued in August 2011. Strauss-Kahn later filed a $1 million defamation suit against her.

Neither case has come close to trial.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, which Diallo did.



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