Maid in Strauss-Kahn case considers civil action

The Sofitel Hotel maid has added two attorneys to her legal team.

New York: The hotel maid whom Dominique Strauss-Kahn is accused of sexually assaulting has added two attorneys to her legal team as she considers a possible civil action, the attorney already representing her said.

Kenneth Thompson, a former assistant US attorney in New York, and Norman Siegel, a former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, took part in a meeting with the woman and her family on Wednesday afternoon.

"They decided that they should have enhanced representation," Jeffrey Shapiro, who had been the woman`s sole attorney until now, said late on Wednesday. One reason for adding the attorneys was to decide "whether there is a civil case going forward," he said.

Strauss-Kahn has been charged with sexually assaulting and attempting to rape the maid at the upscale Sofitel Hotel in New York on May 14. He was head of the International Monetary Fund and had been considered a contender in France`s presidential race until the incident took place.

Shapiro said any civil action against Strauss-Kahn or any other party would need to be filed within one year of the incident. If filed while the criminal case against Strauss-Kahn is pending, it would likely be stayed until the criminal case is concluded, he said.

The two lawyers were added to the team at the urging of male relatives, Shapiro said. There had been no discussion of a civil suit before Wednesday, he said.

Thompson, a partner at Thompson Wigdor & Gilly in New York, successfully prosecuted New York police officers accused of brutality against Abner Louima in 1997. Siegel, who headed the New York Civil Liberties Union from 1985 to 2000, is in private practice in New York.

Bureau Report

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