NEW YORK – Dominique Strauss-Kahn is suing the hotel housekeeper who accused him of sexually assaulting her, saying she seriously damaged his reputation with what he calls a bogus allegation.
The former International Monetary Fund leader and French presidential hopeful struck back at maid Nafissatou Diallo's lawsuit against him with denials and a $1 million defamation claim of his own Monday, exactly a year after she told police he tried to rape her in his Manhattan hotel suite. He says whatever happened was consensual.
He was arrested, resigned from the IMF, and spent several days behind bars and three months on house arrest before prosecutors dropped the case, saying they'd lost confidence in Diallo's trustworthiness because she'd lied about her background and changed her account of what she did right after leaving Strauss-Kahn's room. Although prosecutors didn't say they believed she misrepresented the encounter itself, Strauss-Kahn's court papers blast her claims as intentional lies.
"As a direct result of her malicious and wanton false accusation, Mr. Strauss-Kahn suffered ... substantial harm to his professional and personal reputation in the United States and throughout the world," says his Bronx court filing, written by attorneys William W. Taylor III, Hugh Campbell and others. It was first reported by the New York Post.
It was submitted two weeks after the same court rejected his argument that diplomatic immunity should shield him from Diallo's suit, a ruling he may yet appeal.
Diallo's lawyers said Strauss-Kahn's defamation claim an example of the "misogynistic attitude" of a man who now faces preliminary charges of being involved in a hotel prostitution ring in France. As of last week, French investigators also studying accusations that Strauss-Kahn may have been involved in a rape during a sex party in a Washington hotel in 2010. Separately, a French writer accused him last year of having tried to rape her during a 2003 interview, an accusation prosecutors said was too old to try. He denies all the allegations.
"As with his plea for diplomatic immunity, we are entirely confident this latest desperate ploy will be swiftly rejected," Diallo attorneys Kenneth W. Thompson and Douglas H. Wigdor wrote in an email.
One of Strauss-Kahn's attorneys said the countersuit should come as no surprise to Diallo.
"She is directly responsible for his being arrested, imprisoned, and subjected to extraordinary pain, anguish and expense," William W. Taylor III said in a statement. "Her conduct is not without consequence for her and he is not required to simply endure what she did and her effort to profit for herself without fighting back."
Diallo, now 33, says that when she arrived to clean Strauss-Kahn's suite, he abruptly chased her down, tried to yank down her pantyhose and forced her to perform oral sex. She says a ligament in her shoulder was torn, among other injuries.
The Associated Press generally doesn't name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Diallo has done.
The married Strauss-Kahn, 63, has acknowledged there was a sexual encounter and called it a "moral failing," but insisted it wasn't forced. His new filing says he and Diallo "engaged in mutually consensual sexual acts" and says she "suffered no injuries whatsoever."
At the time, Strauss-Kahn was considered a leading Socialist candidate to take on conservative incumbent French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Socialist Francois Hollande won the election last week.