Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the maid who accused him of trying to rape her agreed to settle her lawsuit, resolving a legal saga that ended his term as head of the International Monetary Fund and derailed a potential French presidential bid.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon in the Bronx yesterday said the two sides have reached an agreement to end the suit, which accused the former IMF head of “violent and deplorable acts” during an encounter at the Sofitel in midtown Manhattan.
The suit was filed in August 2011, about three months after Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged with attempting to rape the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, and two weeks before the criminal charges were dropped by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
Terms of the settlement are confidential, McKeon said during a hearing yesterday attended by Diallo, her lawyers and attorneys for Strauss-Kahn, who wasn’t present. The agreement, which was negotiated after “rather extensive discussions” with the two sides throughout the year, also resolved a suit by Diallo against the New York Post over a story that said she was a prostitute, McKeon said.
The French daily Le Monde, citing unidentified people close to the former IMF chief, reported on Nov. 30 that Strauss-Kahn might pay $6 million to settle the suit, borrowing $3 million from his wife, Anne Sinclair, and the rest from a bank. Strauss-Kahn and Sinclair, the editor of the French version of the Huffington Post, separated this year.
Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers denied the “fantastical and erroneous” information in Le Monde, and called the report “flatly false.” Diallo’s attorneys declined to comment on the newspaper’s story.
Diallo thanked “everyone all over the world” during a brief press conference on the steps of the courthouse after yesterday’s hearing. Her attorney, Kenneth Thompson, called his client “strong and courageous.”
“With this resolution, she can now move on with her life,” he said. Thompson finished his remarks without answering reporters’ questions about the amount of the settlement and led Diallo to a waiting black Lincoln Town Car, which took her away from the courthouse.
Strauss-Kahn, 63, was pulled off an Air France flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 14, 2011, arrested and charged with trying to rape Diallo, a 33-year-old maid from Guinea. He resigned as managing director of the IMF four days later.
“We are pleased to have arrived at a resolution of this matter,” Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys, William Taylor III and Amit Mehta, said in a statement. “We are grateful to Judge McKeon, whose patience and forbearance allowed this agreement to be formulated.”
Strauss-Kahn became managing director of the IMF in November 2007 after Segolene Royal beat him to become the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate. He was French finance minister from 1997 to 1999. Strauss-Kahn, who holds a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Paris, worked as a corporate lawyer from 1993 to 1997.
Before his arrest, polls showed Strauss-Kahn as the Socialist Party politician best placed to defeat then-president Nicolas Sarkozy. Eventual Socialist nominee Francois Hollande defeated Sarkozy in May this year.
Diallo sued Strauss-Kahn seeking unspecified monetary damages for physical and psychological harm, damage to her reputation and career, and mental anguish, alleging assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.
About two weeks after she sued, Vance dropped criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn, concluding that Diallo had lied about events surrounding the alleged attack. Strauss-Kahn said during a television interview after the charges were dropped that the encounter was consensual, while calling it a “moral failing.”
McKeon in May denied a motion by Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that he enjoyed diplomatic immunity. Strauss-Kahn subsequently filed a counterclaim against the maid seeking more than $1 million in damages.
Prosecutors in Lille in northern France in October dropped an inquiry into allegations that Strauss-Kahn and other men raped a prostitute in Washington in December 2010 after the woman wrote to authorities to say she wouldn’t file a criminal complaint.
The inquiry was an offshoot of the so-called Carlton affair, an investigation into claims about a prostitution ring linked to a hotel by the same name in Lille. Strauss-Kahn was charged with procurement in that case and has appealed -- along with others accused in the matter -- to end the investigation.
An appeals court in Douai is scheduled to announce on Dec. 19 whether the probe should be dropped, curtailed or continued.
The case is Diallo v. Strauss-Kahn, 11-307065, New York State Supreme Court (Bronx County).