Former IMF head settles lawsuit filed by his accuser
By Vivienne Foley and Michael Pearson
NEW YORK (CNN) — A New York hotel housekeeper and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the international finance executive accused of sexually assaulting her, have reached a settlement in her civil lawsuit against him, Bronx County Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon said Monday.
Nafissatou Diallo sued Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, in August 2011, three months after she told police that he had attempted to sexually assault her in his hotel room.
The scandal resulted in Strauss-Kahn’s eventual resignation from the IMF and the implosion of his political career, including his shot at becoming president of France.
Terms of the settlement were not released.
“I just want to thank everybody all over the world,” Diallo told reporters after court hearing. “I thank everybody, I thank God. Thank you very much.”
One of her attorneys, Douglas Wigdor, later issued a statement saying, “While the agreement to resolve Ms. Diallo’s claims with DSK is the final chapter in what has been a long and arduous year and a half, the agreement to settle this matter will provide her with a new beginning so that she and her daughter can move forward and begin the process of healing.”
He said Diallo remains off the job, disabled by a shoulder injury she says she suffered in the assault.
Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers would not answer reporters’ questions at the courthouse, but later William Taylor III and Amit Mehta issued this statement: “On behalf of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, we are pleased to have arrived at a resolution of this matter. We are grateful to Judge McKeon, whose patience and forbearance allowed this agreement to be formulated.”
Diallo had been seeking unspecified monetary damages for physical, emotional and psychological harm and damage to her reputation, according to her lawsuit.
She told police that a naked Strauss-Kahn emerged from a room of his spacious luxury hotel suite and tried to force himself on her, at one point dragging her into the bathroom and trying to remove her underwear.
Strauss-Kahn left the hotel and boarded an Air France flight set to leave New York. Police pulled him off the flight.
Strauss-Kahn alleged the encounter was consensual.
A grand jury indicted him on seven counts, including sexual abuse and attempted rape, but prosecutors later dropped the charges after concluding Diallo had lied about some details of the alleged attack.
In her lawsuit, Diallo said she was suing Strauss-Kahn to “vindicate her rights, to assert her dignity as a woman, to hold Dominique Strauss-Kahn accountable for the violent and deplorable acts he committed … to teach her young daughter that no man — regardless of how much money, power and influence he may have — should ever be allowed to violate her body, and to stand up for all women who have been raped … but are too afraid to speak out.”
Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers sought to have the lawsuit dismissed on the grounds that he carried diplomatic immunity, but a judge rejected the gambit in May.
Later than month, he countersued Diallo for $1 million, calling her accusation a “malicious” fabrication that had cost him his career.
That lawsuit is still pending.
Diallo has also settled a libel lawsuit with the New York Post, McKeon said.
After his New York arrest, a French woman accused him of rape. Those accusations were dropped.
But in March, French authorities accused him of “aggravated pimping” for alleged participation in a prostitution ring. At the time, his attorneys called the allegations “unhealthy, sensationalist and not without a political agenda.” A decision on whether he will face charges is expected next week.
Strauss-Kahn is an economist, member of the French parliament and onetime French finance minister who until the scandal broke was widely considered to be the leading candidate to succeed Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France.
He resigned his $500,000 a job with the IMF in May.
CNN’s Vivienne Foley reported from New York and Michael Pearson wrote this story in Atlanta.
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