Friday, August 5, 2011
Air France - We did not purposely keep female employees away from Dominique Strauss-Kahn,
Air France trashed a report Thursday that it purposely kept its female employees away from Dominique Strauss-Kahn because of the Frenchman's infamous boorish behavior.
The airline staunchly countered claims made in an anonymous letter mailed to lawyers of Manhattan maid Nafissatou Diallo, who accused the then head of the International Monetary Fund of sexually assaulting her.
"Air France has in [its] possession a few hundred complaints from customers, employees, crew members, etc ... against the man accused of having abused your client Mrs. Diallo," reads the letter, mailed July 17 from Canada to the Fifth Ave. office of the Thompson Wigdor law firm.
"Consequently, it was decided that only male employees (should go) to the 'First Class Lounge' when this client is traveling," terse letter claims.
Diallo's attorneys released the letter Thursday claiming Strauss-Kahn's crude behavior prompted Air France to keep female employees away from him.
Air France blasted the claims as bogus.
"Air France formally denies having given any instruction about the composition of its crews," a spokesman for the airline said after news of the anonymous letter was first reported Thursday by the French newspaper Le Parisien and picked up widely.
Stauss-Kahn's attorney Benjamin Brafman declined comment, saying he was unaware of the latest twist coming from Diallo's camp.
Diallo, 32, of the Bronx, and her legal team have been pleading with the Manhattan District Attorney not to drop charges against DSK.
The chambermaid went on national television last month to detail how a naked Strauss-Kahn attacked her and forced her to perform oral sex when she went to clean his room May 14 at the Sofitel hotel in midtown. DSK's attorneys accused Diallo and her legal team of orchestrating a "unseemly circus" to inflame public opinion.
Prosecutors contend the case has been weakened by hits to Diallo's credibility. Strauss-Kahn, 62, once the front runner to become France's next president, was freed from house arrest July 1 after prosecutors admitted his accuser lied about details of her personal life.
Diallo's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, said the anonymous letter was worth investigating to shed light on the dark side of Strauss-Kahn.
Thompson revealed that he received a phone call Thursday morning from a man claiming to be an Air France employee corroborating the letter. He said the employee wants to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job.
He said the caller claimed Air France personnel - particularly at airport lounges in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. - made sure Stauss-Kahn was assigned male staffers only.
He said the caller suggested "we should widen our search" to include the D.C. airport.
"We want to talk to any employee of Air France that has information about whether Dominique Strauss-Kahn has engaged in inappropriate behavior towards other women," Thompson said.
"We have heard from other sources we should look at Air France," Thompson said.
He cited an earlier report charging that just before he was hauled off an Air France flight and arrested at Kennedy Airport on charges of assaulting Diallo, Strauss-Kahn made a crude comment to a female Air France flight attendant.
"What a nice ass," he reportedly told the flight attendant before cops hauled him away, the French magazine Le Point reported.
Strauss-Kahn, who resigned from the IMF because of the scandal, is not due back in court in New York until Aug. 23.