After the criminal charges against Dominique Strauss Kahn were dropped for “credibility” issues with his accuser hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, she decided to file a civil lawsuit against the former president of the International Monetary Fund. At the time he was being charged criminally for sexual assault–which he claimed to be “consensual intercourse” with Diallo–Strauss Kahn decided not to invoke diplomatic immunity, but opted to do so in the civil suit.
On Tuesday, a New York judge ruled that since DSK didn't attempt to dismiss the criminal charges by invoking diplomatic immunity, he could not do so in the civil case. In his decision, the New York judge wrote "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." As a result of this decision, the civil case against him will be able to move forward and Diallo will have a much lower burden of proof in order to succeed in civil charges against Strauss Kahn.
The past year has been anything but quiet on the legal front for Strauss Kahn. In the months following Diallo's sexual assault allegations last year, other allegations of sexual assault surfaced. Anne Mansouret, a Socialist member of the French parliament, said Strauss Kahn had attacked her daughter in 2002. Mansouret’s daughter was a writer who interviewed Strauss Kahn and alleged he raped her during that interview. The authorities were unable to press charges because the statute of limitations had expired. Strauss Kahn has also found himself embroiled in an investigation into a prostitution ring. The hotel prostitution ring is being investigated by French authorities. There are a number of prominent figures implicated including members of the police force in the city of Lille.
Strauss Kahn and his defense team has proclaimed his innocence to all charges. Diallo maintains she was sexually assaulted by Strauss Kahn and the civil suit will serve to restore her credibility if she prevails. With DNA evidence to back up her claim, or at least prove sexual contact between Diallo and Strauss Kahn, the civil case will move forward to trial where she hopes to win monetary damages. Diallo’s attorneys said in a statement Tuesday after the ruling, "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.”
Zerlina Maxwell is a political analyst and soon-to-be attorney. You can follow her on Twitter: @ZerlinaMaxwell