New York: Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, mired in legal trouble in his native France, faces new courtroom worries across the Atlantic Wednesday, with
the first hearing in a US civil suit.
The hearing in New York state court in the Bronx will
be the first in a civil suit brought by the hotel maid whose
accusation of attempted rape last year triggered the downfall
of one of the world`s most powerful politicians.
Although US prosecutors tossed out criminal charges
against Strauss-Kahn after deciding that Nafissatou Diallo`s
allegations would not stand up in court, the maid`s lawyers
later filed a civil suit seeking unspecified damages.
Strauss-Kahn and Diallo are neither required, nor
expected, to be present in court.
Judge Douglas McKeon is due to start by hearing
arguments on whether the suit should be dismissed because
Strauss-Kahn had diplomatic immunity as head of the
International Monetary Fund when he was arrested May 14.
The ruling may not come for several weeks, McKeon said.
However, unless Strauss-Kahn settles, the arguments
could prove to be the first salvo in open court of a drawn-out
and bitter battle between Strauss-Kahn`s powerful legal team
and lawyers for Diallo.
Allegations in the civil suit are much the same as the
criminal charges initially lodged against Strauss-Kahn: that
Diallo went to clean his luxury Sofitel hotel suite in
Manhattan and came under brutal sexual assault.
The fallen politician, who at the time of the incident
had been seen as a favorite to win France`s presidency, says a
sexual encounter took place in his hotel room, but insists it
Meanwhile, in France, Strauss-Kahn was charged Monday
in an unrelated sex case of alleged pimping. He could face a
sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors say Strauss-Kahn was involved in an
organised vice ring that supplied prostitutes for orgies with
wealthy men. Strauss-Kahn`s lawyers say he attended group sex
parties but did not know the women were paid to be there.