Strauss-Kahn lawyers to argue immunity to dismiss civil sex assault case
By CNN Wire Staff
New York (CNN) -- Lawyers for former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn are expected to argue in a New York court Wednesday that a hotel maid's lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault should be thrown out because his then-job gave him immunity from civil cases.
Strauss-Kahn has denied Nafissatou Diallo's allegations that he sexually assaulted her, but nonetheless resigned as head of the powerful organization days after he was arrested last May.
The criminal case against Strauss-Kahn fell apart last year before it even reached a courtroom when New York prosecutors cited credibility issues with Diallo.
In September, Strauss-Kahn told French television station TF1 that what happened with the maid in a luxury New York hotel suite was a "moral weakness," but denied any violence or aggression.
He said the incident was "an error, a mistake -- a mistake concerning my wife, my children, my friends" as well as the French people "who placed their hope for change in me."
Strauss-Kahn was a presumptive front-runner for the presidency of France and had dreamed of leading France's Socialist Party in an election against Nicolas Sarkozy this year.
Even though criminal charges were dismissed, Strauss-Kahn's private behavior continues to cast a pall over a man once best known for his brilliant grasp of global economics and European politics.
He is now under investigation for "aggravated pimping" in France by prosecutors who allege he participated in a prostitution ring.
Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn said there is "no significant evidence" their client knew young women at parties he attended were being paid for sex.
The description of the alleged crime as "aggravated" means it took place on a regular and involved basis, and "pimping" means facilitating a prostitution operation, not just being a customer.
Attorney Henri Leclerc said while it's possible to question Strauss-Kahn's morals, his client had not broken the law.
"We can criticize in terms of virtue, in terms of how a man should conduct himself," the lawyer said. "But in reality, this is just unruly conduct. You can hate it, you may not find it virtuous -- everyone is entitled to their own opinion -- but it is not a crime."
Strauss-Kahn also faced accusations of attempted rape from a young French writer.
Shortly after news broke of the alleged New York hotel attack, Anne Mansouret, a Socialist member of the French parliament, accused Strauss-Kahn of attacking her daughter in 2002. She said she had cautioned her daughter, writer Tristane Banon, not to file a police report at the time because it might adversely impact her career.
Banon did file a complaint last year, though it could not be pursued because the statute of limitations had expired.
Strauss-Kahn denied the allegations and has since filed a counter-suit in France, alleging slander.
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