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Maid suing DSK over 'violent and sadistic' assault

A hotel maid who accuses ex-International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault has sued him over what she calls a "violent and sadistic" attack.

Lawyers for the maid, Guinean immigrant Nafissatou Diallo, wrote in the lawsuit that Strauss-Kahn "intentionally, brutally and violently sexually assaulted Ms Diallo and in the process humiliated, degraded, violated and robbed Ms Diallo of her dignity as a woman".



coerced

The lawyers, Kenneth Thompson and Douglas Wigdor, claimed they would tell a jury about other instances when Strauss-Kahn sexually attacked women in hotel rooms and apartments, coerced employees into complying with sexual demands or accosted women with inappropriate sexual remarks and tried to get them to perform sexual acts.

They said the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, would "redress the violent and sadistic attack by defendant Strauss-Kahn on Nafissatou Diallo when he sexually assaulted" her on May 14 at the Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan.

The lawsuit, filed in state court in the Bronx, accuses Strauss-Kahn of acting like a common criminal after the alleged attack, fleeing the hotel so quickly that he left behind traces of his semen, along with bloody tissues.

"In his haste to flee the scene of a crime, he rushed out of the hotel with toothpaste smeared on the outside of his mouth and was looking over his shoulders," the lawsuit says.

The attack has left Diallo physically and psychologically harmed, with permanent damage done to her professional and personal reputations along with severe mental anguish from which she may never fully recover, the lawsuit says.

She suffers great emotional distress, humiliation, depression and physical pain, and the experience has "left Ms Diallo's life and her young daughter's life in shambles", it says.

Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn said the maid's lawsuit has no merit and their client will fight it vigorously.

"We have maintained from the beginning that the motivation of Mr Thompson and his client was to make money," attorneys William W Taylor and Benjamin Brafman said.

"The filing of this lawsuit ends any doubt on that question."

The filing of a civil lawsuit so quickly after an arrest provides an avenue for lawyers to pursue evidence and interview witnesses for a potential civil trial while memories are fresh.

Other high-profile defendants who have faced civil suits and criminal charges at the same time include Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant and late pop music icon Michael Jackson.

Veteran defence lawyer Gerald Shargel, who is not involved in the Strauss-Kahn case, said some lawyers delay filing a civil lawsuit to deprive the defence in a criminal trial from asking witnesses questions about the civil suit.



credibility

But he added that he has found that the majority of lawyers file civil suits in sexual-assault cases before criminal trials.

"It may have some effect on the jury's verdict, but it rarely decides the outcome," he said.

A defence lawyer who specialises in sexual abuse cases, Tom A Pavlinic, said Diallo put her credibility at risk by bringing the civil lawsuit.

"She has done him a favour," Pavlinic said. "Prosecutors, in my experience, don't like when complainants in criminal cases initiate litigation in a civil case."

The Manhattan district attorney's office declined to comment on the filing of the lawsuit.

Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted rape and other crimes.

hnews@herald.ie


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