DSK Seeks Diplomatic Immunity in Sex Crime Civil Lawsuit

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was so well known in France that he went by his initials, DSK. When he was accused of a sex crime in New York City it made world news and appeared to put an abrupt end to his political career. Although the criminal charges were later dropped, the alleged victim, a housekeeper at Straus-Kahn's hotel, subsequently filed a civil suit in the Bronx seeking monetary damages for the harm she says she experienced as a result of the incident.

Strauss-Khan, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree in 2011. He also faced one count of attempted rape in the first degree, one count of sexual abuse in the first degree, one count of unlawful imprisonment in the second degree-DNA eligible-MISD, one count of sexual abuse in the third degree-DNA eligible-MISD and one count of forcible touching-DNA eligible-MISD.

These charges were dropped after the Manhattan district attorney told the judge that his office was unable to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt because the alleged victim, Nafissatou Diallo, had serious credibility problems. The prosecution termed Diallo's testimony "surreal" and contradictory. Strauss-Kahn did not deny that sexual contact had occurred, but said that it was consensual. He was arrested after being taken off a Paris-bound plane at Kennedy airport.

Diallo's credibility problem stemmed from her past behavior when she applied for asylum, falsely stating that she had been gang-raped in her native Guinea. She also apparently lied about her actions after the alleged assault by Strauss-Kahn, saying that she stayed outside his room when it could be shown that she had returned to his room and entered another room before telling her boss about the attack. In addition, she was recorded discussing Strauss-Kahn's money, suggesting that she was taking advantage of an opportunity to cash in on DSK's wealth.

Although the criminal charges were dropped, the civil suit, which could have serious financial consequences for the defendant, continues. Straus-Kahn has invoked diplomatic immunity and requested that the judge dismiss the lawsuit against him His attorneys said that his former position as head of the IMF gave him absolute immunity. He claimed that he was protected from lawsuits, even those arising from his personal, rather than professional, actions, and even though he was no longer employed by the IMF.

The United States has not signed the convention that governs employees of agencies like the IMF. And Bronx judge Douglas E. McKeon appeared to be quite skeptical of the diplomatic immunity argument, asking Strauss-Kahn's attorneys why they had not invoked diplomatic immunity during the criminal proceedings.

Strauss-Kahn was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, on April 25, 1949. He went to law school and earned a degree in public law and a PhD in economics in 1977. His political career included a term as Minister of Economy and Finance from 1997 to 1999. He sought the nomination of the Socialist party in France for a run for president in 2006, but was defeated. He became Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund on Sept. 28, 2007. He resigned from that job on May 18, 2011, shortly after the scandal in New York City was reported in the media.

Strauss-Kahn was recently charged in France with being involved in a prostitution ring.

Persons facing civil or criminal sex crime charges in New York or New Jersey should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.