Saturday 18 November 2017

DSK faces civil rape case as bid to dismiss it rejected

Dominique Strauss-Kahn has denied doing anything violent during an encounter with a hotel maid in New York
Dominique Strauss-Kahn has denied doing anything violent during an encounter with a hotel maid in New York

Chris Dolmetsch in New York

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief, has lost his battle to have a rape case brought against him by a New York hotel maid dismissed.

Yesterday Justice Douglas McKeon of New York State Supreme Court in the Bronx rejected Strauss-Kahn's claim of diplomatic immunity,

The judge dismissed it, bluntly describing it as "his own version of a 'Hail Mary' pass". He pointed to Mr Strauss-Kahn's decision not to invoke diplomatic immunity when he was charged criminally with assaulting the maid, Nafissatou Diallo.

"Mr Strauss-Kahn 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," Judge McKeon wrote.

Mr Strauss-Kahn (63) was ordered off an Air France flight at John F Kennedy International Airport last May 14, arrested and charged with trying to rape Ms Diallo, a housekeeper at the Sofitel in midtown Manhattan. He resigned as head of the IMF four days later.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr dropped the criminal charges against Mr Strauss-Kahn after concluding that Ms Diallo had lied about events surrounding the alleged attack. The criminal case was dismissed on August 23.

Ms Diallo sued Mr Strauss-Kahn the same month, seeking damages for what her lawyer called "violent and deplorable acts". Unlike a criminal trial, a civil suit doesn't require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Lawyers for Mr Strauss-Kahn argued that he was entitled to diplomatic immunity under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialised Agencies, a November 1947 treaty.

Customary

While the US isn't a party to the treaty, such immunity has become "customary international law" because of acceptance from countries that are members of the United Nations, attorneys for Mr Strauss-Kahn argued in court filings.

His legal team, William Taylor III and Amit Mehta, is reviewing the court order and considering their legal options, said Marina Ein, an outside spokeswoman for their firm.

"We are disappointed that the court did not grant our motion to dismiss the civil suit against Mr Strauss-Kahn," the team said in a statement. "He is determined to fight the claims brought against him, and we are confident that he will prevail."

"We are extremely pleased with Judge McKeon's well- reasoned and articulate decision," Douglas Wigdor, one of Ms Diallo's lawyers, said in an email.

"We have said all along that Strauss-Kahn's desperate plea for immunity was a tactic designed to delay these proceedings."

Irish Independent

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