Bloomberg News

Strauss-Kahn Isn’t Entitled to Diplomatic Immunity, Accuser Says

October 25, 2011

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn isn’t entitled to diplomatic immunity from civil claims that he sexually assaulted a Manhattan hotel maid, the woman’s lawyers said.

Strauss-Kahn’s motion to dismiss the case based on immunity is a “transparent attempt to delay these proceedings and should be denied in its entirety as utterly meritless and frivolous,” the woman, Nafissatou Diallo, said in a document provided by one of Diallo’s attorneys, Kenneth Thompson. The papers were sent to Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers yesterday and will be filed with New York State Supreme Court in the Bronx on Nov. 9, Thompson said.

Strauss-Kahn’s argument that he is entitled to diplomatic immunity is based on the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies, a 1947 treaty that the U.S. isn’t party to, Diallo’s lawyers said in the documents.

When New York prosecutors accused Strauss-Kahn in a criminal case of trying to rape Diallo, neither Strauss-Kahn nor the IMF claimed immunity, “because he knew he had no entitlement to such immunity,” Diallo’s attorneys said in the documents. The criminal charges were later dropped for other reasons.

“Realizing that the laws of the United States flatly reject any theory of diplomatic immunity that would absolve defendant DSK from liability for sexually assaulting Ms. Diallo, defendant relies on a conflicting treaty to which the United States is not even a party, and which only arguably provides greater immunity than that provided under the laws of the United States,” Diallo’s lawyers said.

Air France

Strauss-Kahn was pulled off an Air France flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 14, arrested and charged with trying to rape Diallo, a housekeeper at the Sofitel in midtown Manhattan. He resigned as head of the IMF four days later to fight the charges.

Diallo, 33, sued Strauss-Kahn on Aug. 8, seeking unspecified damages for what her lawyer called “violent and deplorable acts.” Attorneys for Strauss-Kahn on Sept. 27 asked New York State Supreme Judge Douglas McKeon to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that Strauss-Kahn, as managing director of the IMF, was subject to diplomatic immunity at the time of his arrest.

Charges Dismissed

New York State Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus on Aug. 23 granted Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s request to dismiss the criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn. Vance’s office had concluded that Diallo had lied about events surrounding the alleged attack.

Diallo’s attorneys had a deadline yesterday to file a response to Strauss-Kahn’s motion to dismiss the case to his lawyers, who have until Nov. 9 to formally respond to the complaint, Thompson said.

William Taylor III, an attorney representing Strauss-Kahn, didn’t respond to a telephone message left at his office in Washington seeking comment on Diallo’s response papers.

Paris prosecutors on Oct. 13 dropped an inquiry into whether Strauss-Kahn in 2003 assaulted French writer Tristane Banon, who then decided not to pursue a private criminal action.

The case is Diallo v. Strauss-Kahn, 11-307065, New York State Supreme Court (Bronx County).

--Editors: Mary Romano, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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