Strauss-Kahn to settle with accuser Nafissatou Diallo

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and a hotel maid who accused him of trying to rape her have reached an agreement to settle her lawsuit.

Strauss-Kahn to settle with accuser Nafissatou Diallo

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and a hotel maid who accused him of trying to rape her have reached an agreement to settle her lawsuit.

The move is likely ending a legal saga that forced the one-time French presidential contender’s resignation and opened a floodgate of accusations against him, a source said.

Details of the deal, which comes after prosecutors dropped related criminal charges last year, were not immediately known and likely will be veiled by a confidentiality agreement.

That could prevent the two from speaking publicly about a May 2011 encounter that she called a brutally sudden attack and he termed a consensual “moral failing”.

Lawyers for Mr Strauss-Kahn and the housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, made the as-yet-unsigned agreement within recent days, with Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon facilitating that and a separate agreement to end another lawsuit Ms Diallo filed against the New York Post, said the person.

A court date is expected next week, though the day was not set, the source said.

Ms Diallo, 33, and Mr Strauss-Kahn, 63, crossed paths when she arrived to clean his luxury Manhattan hotel suite.

She told police he chased her, tried to pull down her underwear and forced her to perform oral sex.

The allegation seemed to let loose a spiral of accusations about the sexual conduct of Mr Strauss-Kahn, a married diplomat and economist who had long been dubbed the “great seducer”.

He now faces charges linking him to a suspected prostitution ring in his home country.

With DNA evidence showing a sexual encounter and Ms Diallo providing a gripping description of an attack, the Manhattan district attorney’s office initially said it had a strong and compelling case.

But within six weeks, prosecutors’ confidence began to ebb as they said Ms Diallo had lied about her past – including a false account of a previous rape - and her actions after leaving Mr Strauss-Kahn’s room.

Ms Diallo, who is from Guinea, said she told the truth about their encounter. But the district attorney’s office dropped the charges in August 2011, saying prosecutors could no longer ask a jury to believe her.

Ms Diallo had sued Mr Strauss-Kahn in the meantime, with her lawyers saying she would get her day in a different court. Mr Strauss-Kahn called the lawsuit defamatory and countersued her for $1m.

Her lawsuit against the Post concerned a series of articles that called her a prostitute and said she sold sex at a hotel where the Manhattan DA’s office had housed her during the criminal case.

The News Corp newspaper has said it stands by its reporting; a spokeswoman declined to comment.

In helping resolve the cases, Mr McKeon averted what could have been an ugly court drama.

Mr Strauss-Kahn initially said he had diplomatic immunity, an argument the judge turned down in May.

Mr Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers had since asked Mr McKeon to throw out part of her claim for other legal reasons. Court records show the judge had yet to rule on that and several other legal issues, and it appeared that a high-stakes step - depositions, or pre-trial questioning under oath – had not yet been taken.

Depositions can give both sides information and a better picture of how strong the key parties and other witnesses might be in court.

While the vast majority of civil cases end in settlements, some legal observers were surprised that the deal between Mr Strauss-Kahn and Ms Diallo came before the legal arguments were resolved.

Still, the case likely had taken a toll on both Ms Diallo, a single mother of a teenage daughter, and Mr Strauss-Kahn, who has found himself plagued by accusations of sexual misconduct that further tarnished his reputation.

The Socialist had been seen as a potential leading candidate for the French presidency before his New York arrest.

In France, judges are to decide by December 19 whether to annul charges linking him to a suspected prostitution ring run out of a luxury hotel in Lille.

He acknowledges attending “libertine” gatherings but denies knowing that some women present were paid.

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