- Ex-IMF chief says he had immunity similar to diplomats
- His lawyers have asked a New York judge to dismiss his accuser's lawsuit
- Criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn were dropped in August
Lawyers for ex-International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by his accuser in a now-dismissed sexual assault case Monday, arguing his job gave him immunity from civil cases.
As head of the IMF, Strauss-Kahn had the same protections as diplomats, his attorneys wrote in court papers. U.S. courts recognize those protections as "customary international law" even though the United States has not signed the U.N. convention that specifically includes IMF officials, they wrote.
Though Strauss-Kahn resigned as IMF managing director after his arrest in May, his immunity continued while he was under house arrest in New York, they told a New York state judge in the Bronx, where the lawsuit was filed.
Manhattan prosecutors dropped sexual assault charges against him in August amid questions about the credibility of his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, who sued Strauss-Kahn as prosecutors prepared to dismiss the case. Prosecutors later disclosed that Diallo had made false statements "in matters great and small," undercutting their case against the 62-year-old banker.
Diallo, a Guinean immigrant who worked as a maid at the Sofitel Hotel, accused Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in his hotel room and of smearing her reputation as he fought the charges against him.
Strauss-Kahn was considered a possible contender for the French presidency before his arrest. In a television interview following his return to Paris, he confessed to a "moral weakness" and an "inappropriate relationship" with Diallo, but denied any violence or aggression.
In their filing Monday, his attorneys also asked a judge to bar other allegations of improper sexual acts if the lawsuit is allowed to stand. French journalist Tristane Banon has filed a complaint against Strauss-Kahn in France, alleging he attempted to sexually assault her in 2003; he has filed a counter-suit alleging slander.