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Strauss-Kahn accuser slaps NY Post with libel lawsuit

By the CNN Wire Staff
Kenneth Thompson, the alleged victim's lawyer, filed a libel lawsuit against the New York Post.
Kenneth Thompson, the alleged victim's lawyer, filed a libel lawsuit against the New York Post.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The accuser has filed a libel lawsuit against the New York Post and 5 of its reporters
  • The newspaper reported that the woman was a prostitute
  • A spokeswoman for the New York Post said "we stand by our reporting"

New York (CNN) -- The alleged victim in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault case has filed a libel lawsuit against the New York Post and five of its reporters after the newspaper reported that the woman was a prostitute, according to court filings.

The woman, a native of Guinea who has not been identified publicly, accused the newspaper of publishing articles with false and defamatory information in the effort to bolster sales.

Her attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, filed the claim Tuesday in New York's Bronx state Supreme Court.

A spokeswoman for the New York Post, Suzi Halpin, responded to the lawsuit saying "we stand by our reporting."

The Post -- which has earned a reputation for its sensationalist headlines and provocative reporting -- on July 2 published the headline "Maid cleaning up as 'hooker,'" citing anonymous sources.

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The article said the woman -- a maid at a Manhattan hotel -- was "doing double duty as a prostitute, collecting cash on the side from male guests, The Post has learned."

On July 3, the newspaper reported that the alleged victim, which the newspaper did not name in its stories, has "a regular fleet of gentlemen callers," ranging from "wealthy clients she met at the Sofitel (hotel) to counterfeit-merchandise hawkers and livery-cab drivers, said sources close to the defense investigation."

The filing says The Post knew, or should have known, that the statements were false prior to publication.

The newspaper's articles were then repeated by "multiple news organizations around the world," the filing said. CNN did not carry the Post reports.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that so far, "no evidence has been found that she is a prostitute."

The alleged victim, 32, accused the former head of the International Monetary Fund of criminal sexual acts and sexual abuse that allegedly occurred in May inside his Manhattan hotel suite.

But the woman's credibility was largely undermined Friday when prosecutors announced publicly that she had been less than truthful with authorities about some aspects of her life and her whereabouts immediately after the alleged attack.

The announcement appears to have left the case on shaky ground, but Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said he is not ready to drop charges.

"Prosecutors said on Friday their investigation is continuing, and that remains the case," Vance spokeswoman Erin Duggan told CNN. "No decisions have been made."

Meanwhile, Strauss-Kahn is facing separate accusations of attempted rape in France.

A Strauss-Kahn lawyer in France said he had filed a counterclaim against Tristane Banon for "false declarations."

French prosecutors are expected to review the complaint and determine whether there is enough evidence to press charges.

CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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