Dominique Strauss-Kahn is suing the hotel housekeeper who accused him of sexually assaulting her, saying she seriously damaged his reputation with what he calls a bogus allegation.
The former International Monetary Fund leader struck back at maid Nafissatou Diallo's lawsuit against him with a $1 million defamation claim of his own Monday, exactly a year after she told police he tried to rape her in his Manhattan hotel suite. He says whatever happened was consensual.
He was arrested, resigned from the IMF and spent several days behind bars and three months on house arrest before prosecutors dropped the case, saying they'd lost confidence in Diallo's trustworthiness because she'd lied about her background and changed her account of what she did right after leaving Strauss-Kahn's room. Although prosecutors didn't say they believed she misrepresented the encounter itself, Strauss-Kahn's court papers blast her claims as intentional lies.
"As a direct result of her malicious and wanton false accusation, Mr. Strauss-Kahn suffered ... substantial harm to his professional and personal reputation in the United States and throughout the world," says his Bronx court filing, written by attorneys William W. Taylor III, Hugh Campbell and others.
Strauss-Kahn's suit was submitted two weeks after the same court rejected his argument that diplomatic immunity should shield him from Diallo's suit, a ruling he may yet appeal.
Diallo's lawyers said Strauss-Kahn's defamation claim an example of the "misogynistic attitude" of a man who now faces preliminary charges of being involved in a hotel prostitution ring in France.
As of last week, French investigators were also examining accusations that Strauss-Kahn may have been involved in a rape during a sex party in a Washington, D.C., hotel in 2010. Separately, a French writer accused him last year of having tried to rape her during a 2003 interview, an accusation prosecutors decided was too old to try. Strauss-Kahn denies all the allegations.
"As with his plea for diplomatic immunity, we are entirely confident this latest desperate ploy will be swiftly rejected," Diallo attorneys Kenneth W. Thompson and Douglas H. Wigdor wrote in an e-mail.
Diallo, now 33, says that when she arrived to clean Strauss-Kahn's suite, he abruptly chased her down, tried to yank down her pantyhose and forced her to perform oral sex. She says a ligament in her shoulder was torn, among other injuries.
The married Strauss-Kahn, 63, has acknowledged there was a sexual encounter and called it a "moral failing," but insisted it wasn't forced. His new filing says he and Diallo "engaged in mutually consensual sexual acts" and says she "suffered no injuries whatsoever."
At the time, Strauss-Kahn was considered a leading Socialist candidate to take on conservative incumbent French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Socialist Francois Hollande won the election last week.
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