Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief who resigned amid rape allegations, was unable to get a court to dismiss a civil suit from his accuser.
State Supreme Court Judge Douglas McKeon in the Bronx rejected on Tuesday Strauss-Kahn's claim of absolute immunity from civil suits due to his work as IMF managing director. McKeon said Strauss-Kahn should have pressed his immunity claim when he faced criminal charges for the alleged sexual assault of Bronx hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo.
Mr. Strauss-Kahn cannot eschew immunity in an effort to clear his name only to embrace it now in an effort to deny Ms. Diallo the opportunity to clear hers, McKeon wrote.
The French former IMF leader was arrested May 14 after Diallo accused him of trying to rape her during an encounter in his room at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan, where she worked. Strauss-Kahn, who was at the time the likely French Socialist candidate for president, has maintained the encounter was consensual. A grand jury indicted him on seven counts of sexual assault; the case was dismissed after prosecutors began to doubt Diallo's account of the incident.
Diallo, who publicly discussed her case after the Strauss-Kahn case fell apart, filed the civil suit in August, which the ex-IMF chief's legal team attempted to dismiss due to his role at the international organization.
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He is determined to fight the claims brought against him, and we are confident that he will prevail, Strauss-Kahn's counsel, William Taylor III and Amit Mehta, said in a statement, the Associated Press reported.
In arguing for absolute immunity, his lawyers said a United Nations agreement on specialized agencies, like the IMF, protects executives of such organizations.
But McKeon agreed with Diallo's attorneys that the U.S. never signed onto the U.N. agreement and the IMF's own guidelines offer immunity only for official acts on behalf of the fund.
Lest there be any confusion as to the type of immunities enjoyed by employees of the IMF, one need only read the IMF-prepared document entitled Overview Of The Rules On Conduct And Ethics At The IMF, McKeon wrote.
Stauss-Kahn, who was placed under house arrest in New York City after being charged, had also tried arguing that he enjoyed immunity even after his resignation from the IMF under a treaty that extends protection to officials to get out of a country once they finish their business.
Confronted with well-settled law that his voluntary resignation from the IMF terminated any immunity which he enjoyed ... Mr. Strauss-Kahn throws (legally speaking, that is) his own version of a 'Hail Mary' pass, McKeon wrote.
Diallo's attorneys said they looked forward to continuing their civil case against Strauss-Kahn, according to the AP.
We have said all along that Strauss-Kahn's desperate plea for immunity was a tactic designed to delay these proceedings and we now look forward to holding him accountable for the brutal sexual assault that he committed, Diallo's attorneys, Kenneth P. Thompson and Douglas H. Wigdor, said in a statement.