Strauss-Kahn said to reach deal to settle with hotel housekeeper

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 30, 2012 20:51 hrs

Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the hotel housekeeper who accused him of sexually assaulting her last year have quietly reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit she brought against him stemming from the case, which made international headlines, people with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.

French media reported on Friday that Strauss-Kahn, 63, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, would pay $6 million to the housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, who accused him of attacking her at a Midtown Manhattan hotel.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, William W Taylor III, said in a telephone interview on Friday morning that the French reports were “completely false” and that the $6 million figure “is off by orders of magnitude,” but he would not elaborate and details of the agreement could not immediately be determined.

One of the people with knowledge of the matter had cautioned on Thursday that no settlement had yet been signed.

Diallo’s lawyer, Kenneth P Thompson, declined to comment on Friday morning.

The parties are scheduled to appear next week before Justice Douglas E McKeon in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, the people said.

Strauss-Kahn, once a leading candidate for the French presidency, was arrested in May 2011 after Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, told the police that he had sexually assaulted her when she came to clean his 28th-floor suite at the Sofitel hotel. Several days later, a grand jury indicted Strauss-Kahn on charges including attempted rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

He resigned his IMF post in disgrace.

But the case fell apart in the weeks after the indictment, as prosecutors began to have concerns about the housekeeper’s credibility.

In August 2011, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R Vance Jr, moved to dismiss the seven-count indictment, and a judge dropped the charges. By then, her lawyers had already filed the civil case in the Bronx, where she lives. Strauss-Kahn later filed a countersuit, saying the housekeeper’s statements had damaged his political career.

Diallo’s lawsuit sought unspecified damages for what court papers called a “violent and sadistic attack” that humiliated and degraded her, and robbed her “of her dignity as a woman.” Her lawyer indicated that he was prepared to introduce testimony from other women who say they were attacked by Strauss-Kahn in “hotel rooms around the world” and in apartments specifically used by him “for the purpose of covering up his crimes.”

Strauss-Kahn has said the sex with Diallo was consensual, though in a French television interview after the charges were dismissed, he acknowledged that the encounter was “an error” and “a moral failure” he would regret his whole life.

One person with knowledge of the matter said media reports about the agreement to settle Diallo’s lawsuit had raised concerns that they would disrupt the sensitive negotiations.

Strauss-Kahn also has legal troubles in France, where he was charged in Lille in October 2011 with participating in an organised prostitution ring, a result of sex parties that he attended in northern France and at a deluxe hotel in Washington.

Eight other men were also charged. French prosecutors said the ring organized sex parties with mostly Belgian prostitutes in Lille, Paris, Brussels and Washington.

© 2012 The New York Times News Service

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