Wed, Aug 10, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Maid files civil suit against Strauss-Kahn in New York

AFP, NEW YORK

The maid accusing French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape filed a civil suit on Monday in New York alleging a “sadistic attack” and seeking unspecified compensation.

Her move came as prosecutors deliberated over whether to drop sex assault charges against Strauss-Kahn or take the former head of the IMF to trial.

The 17-page court filing alleged a “violent and sadistic attack” in the Manhattan Sofitel where Nafissatou Diallo went to clean Strauss-Kahn’s luxury room on May 14.

No specific amount of money was named in the suit, which referred only to “an award of damages in an amount to be determined at trial, plus prejudgment interest” and other unspecified compensation.

Filled with gruesome details about how the French VIP allegedly forced his penis into the Guinean immigrant’s mouth, the suit also claimed that Strauss-Kahn had assaulted women in “hotel rooms around the world.”

The suit requested a jury trial in the Bronx, a tough neighborhood of New York where Diallo lives and where the local state court has a reputation for favoring victims in civil suits.

Responding to the suit, lawyers for Strauss-Kahn — who until the scandal had been tipped to become the next president of France — said Diallo and her lead lawyer Kenneth Thompson were simply after their client’s fortune.

“We have maintained from the beginning that the motivation of Mr Thompson and his client was to make money. The filing of this lawsuit ends any doubt on that question. The civil suit has no merit and Mr Strauss-Kahn will defend it vigorously,” attorneys William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman said.

The burden of proof in a civil trial is significantly lower than the near watertight “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that has to be met in criminal courts.

That could mean that even if Strauss-Kahn is let off by prosecutors, he will still face a bruising jury trial in the Bronx.

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