| 18°C Dublin

Dominique Strauss-Kahn diplomatic immunity argument dismissed, case can proceed

NAFISSATOU Diallo, a hotel maid who is suing Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be allowed to proceed with her claim, a judge ruled today, after he dismissed the former IMF chief's diplomatic immunity defence.

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who had criminal charges for the same offence dropped last year, had applied to have Nafissatou Diallo’s case against him dropped claiming his role as managing director of the IMF afforded him diplomatic immunity.

But today a judge in The Bronx, New York, dismissed Mr Strauss-Kahn’s attempt, saying it was the equivalent of a “Hail Mary pass” – a reference to a last-ditch American football play generally made by a losing team late in a game out of desperation.

According to court documents, Judge Douglas McKeon wrote: “Confronted with well-stated law that his voluntary resignation from the IMF terminated any immunity which he enjoyed … Mr Strauss-Khan, threw [legally speaking that is] his own version of a Hail Mary pass.”

The newspaper says that Mr McKeon points out in his ruling that Mr Strauss-Kahn did not claim immunity when prosecutors were pursuing the criminal charges against him.

“Mr Strauss-Khan cannot eschew immunity in an effort to clear his name only to embrace it now in an effort to deny Ms. Diallo the opportunity to clear hers,” Mr McKeon wrote.

The Post said that Mr McKeon’s ruling begins with a quotation inserted in to the IMF’s 2011 annual report: “The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.”

Miss Diallo claims that Mr Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her in a "violent and sadistic attack" in the Midtown Sofitel hotel, in New York, nearly one year ago.

In a statement, Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for Miss Diallo said: "We are extremely pleased with Judge McKeon's well reasoned and articulate decision recognizing that Strauss Kahn is not entitled to immunity.

"We have said all along that Strauss Kahn' s desperate plea for immunity was a tactic designed to delay these proceedings and we now look forward to holding him accountable for the brutal sexual assault that he committed."

Mr Strauss-Kahn was placed under house arrest. But criminal charges were dropped over doubts about the credibility of Ms Diallo’s testimony. Mr Kahn resigned from his role at the IMF in the wake of the scandal.

Mr Strauss-Kahn has separately been placed under formal investigation in France over his alleged links to an alleged prostitution ring. He has admitted attending parties where the authorities believe prostitutes were provided by a gang, but denies knowing that they were prostitutes.