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Maid's NY suit vs. Strauss-Kahn can proceed

By JENNIFER PELTZ Associated Press

May 01, 2012

A judge says a hotel maid's lawsuit claiming that Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her can proceed to trial in New York City.

Bronx state Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon ruled Tuesday in the housekeeper's civil case. His decision was first reported by The New York Post.

The maid says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in his Manhattan hotel suite in May. Strauss-Kahn has denied doing anything violent during the encounter.

Prosecutors dropped related criminal charges last summer.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said the civil suit also should be dismissed. They argued he has diplomatic immunity from the lawsuit because of his former post as head of the International Monetary Fund. He resigned shortly after his arrest.

The maid's lawyers say the immunity argument is off-base. They note that it relies on a United Nations agreement the U.S. didn't sign.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A judge was expected to rule on whether to allow a hotel maid's sexual assault lawsuit against Dominique Strauss-Kahn after the former International Monetary Fund leader claimed diplomatic immunity.

Bronx state Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon heard arguments in March on the civil case that emerged from the May 2011 hotel-room encounter that also spurred now-dismissed criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn, then a French presidential contender. The episode was the first in a series of allegations about the sexual conduct that sank his political career. He has been weighing whether or not to allow the lawsuit to go forward. He was to rule on Tuesday.

The housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, 33, said Strauss-Kahn, 63, tried to rape her when she arrived to clean his Manhattan hotel suite. Strauss-Kahn has denied doing anything violent during the encounter.

Prosecutors dropped related criminal charges last summer, saying they had developed doubts about her trustworthiness because she had lied about her background and her actions right after the alleged attack. She has insisted she told the truth about what happened in the encounter itself.

Strauss-Kahn didn't assert immunity from the criminal prosecution, and he resigned his IMF job days after his arrest. But his lawyers argued he should be immune from the lawsuit, which was filed about three months later. They say his job title afforded him the luxury under international rules.

But Diallo's lawyers said the immunity claim is off base. They stressed that an IMF spokesman said shortly after Strauss-Kahn's arrest that he didn't have immunity because he was on personal business during his encounter with Diallo. Strauss-Kahn was visiting his daughter in New York.

The Associated Press generally doesn't name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Diallo has done.

After Strauss-Kahn's arrest in New York, a French writer came forward to say Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her during a 2003 interview. Paris prosecutors said that accusation was too old to try, but French authorities have pursued an unrelated allegation that he was involved in a hotel prostitution ring including prominent city figures and police in Lille.

In March, he was handed preliminary charges, which mean authorities have reason to believe a crime was committed but allow more time for investigation.

His French lawyer said the married Strauss-Kahn engaged in "libertine" acts but did nothing legally wrong and is being unfairly targeted for his extramarital sex life.

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Associated Press Writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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