Wednesday 13 December 2017

Dominique Strauss-Kahn maid files civil suit seeking millions

Nafissatou Diallo. Photo: Getty Images
Nafissatou Diallo. Photo: Getty Images

Jon Swaine, New York

The maid who claims she suffered a "violent and sadistic" attack by Dominique Strauss-Kahn has sued him in New York's civil courts, paving the way for a battle for millions of dollars in damages.

Nafissatou Diallo, a 32-year-old Guinean, alleges Mr Strauss-Kahn, the 62-year-old former IMF chief, tried to rape her when she arrived to clean his Manhattan hotel suite on May 14.

Mr Strauss-Kahn is charged with multiple crimes, but the prosecution is expected to be dropped amid doubts over Miss Diallo's credibility.

A civil lawsuit filed by her attorneys last night claimed the "innocent hardworking immigrant" suffered "physical and psychological harm", as well as permanent damage to her reputation.

"Believing he was immune from the laws of this country, defendant 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," it said.

Mr Strauss-Kahn is accused of bruising her crotch and tearing one of her shoulder ligaments, before forcing her to perform oral sex and fleeing "like a common criminal".

The lawsuit seeks damages for "sexual assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress". It calls for a jury trial in The Bronx, Miss Diallo's home borough and New York City's poorest.

Her attorneys would need to prove it more likely than not that Mr Strauss-Kahn was guilty, rather than "beyond reasonable doubt" as in criminal courts.

Douglas Wigdor, one of her attorneys, told The Daily Telegraph he hoped the criminal case would survive.

"We think Strauss-Kahn should go to jail. The evidence is overwhelming," he said.

"But we don't have any control over what the district attorney does. This complaint is to assert Miss Diallo's rights". The maid has taken the unusual step of speaking to the media.

Asked what sum she was seeking from Mr Strauss-Kahn, whose wife is a multimillionaire, Mr Wigdor said: "We are asking a jury to award Miss Diallo whatever they see as appropriate."

Mr Strauss-Kahn denies all charges. His attorneys said that the lawsuit "ends any doubt" Miss Diallo is out merely "to make money".

They said: "The civil suit has no merit and Mr Strauss-Kahn will defend it vigorously."

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