Bronx judge today green lit the sex-assault lawsuit against disgraced IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, mocking his claim of diplomatic immunity as a desperate “Hail Mary.”
The former International Monetary Fund head tried to claim international protection in a civil lawsuit against him last August by chambermaid Nafissatou Diallo, who claims he sexually assaulted her in a “violent and sadistic attack” in the Midtown Sofitel Hotel nearly a year ago.
The Manhattan DA declined to prosecute Strauss-Kahn. The humiliating incident prompted his resignation from his IMF post.
“Confronted with the well-stated law that his voluntary resignation from the IMF terminated any immunity which he enjoyed, Mr. Strauss-Kahn threw [legally speaking that is] his own version of a ‘Hail Mary’ pass,” State Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon, wrote in a 12-page decision.
The ruling allows Diallo’s lawyers to move forward with their lawsuit and eventually force DSK, through subpoena, to return to the New York for vigorous deposition.
“We said all along this was a delay tactic,” Diallo’s lawyer Douglas Wigdor said.
“We’re pleased with the judge’s decision and look forward to holding Strauss-Kahn accountable for the despicable act he committed.”
The former finance minister and one-time presidential candidate also has legal trouble back at home in France for his alleged involvement in a high-class prostitution ring which could land him in jail for 20 years if convicted.
But the 62-year-old Socialist’s bid to shield himself with a 1947 United Nations immunity agreement, which the US never signed, fell flat in the Bronx.
Strauss-Khan did not claim immunity when Manhattan DA Cy Vance was pursuing criminal charges against him, or when was sued by hotel maid, McKeon pointed out.
“Mr. Strauss-Khan must establish that he enjoyed absolute immunity which continued after his resignation from the IMF until at least August 8, 2011, the day the process [lawsuit] in this action was served,” the judge wrote.
“Mr. Strauss-Khan cannot eschew immunity in an effort to clear his name only to embrace it now in an effort to deny Ms. Diallo the opportunity to clear hers.”
McKeon’s ruling began with a Japanese proverb inserted into the IMF’s 2011 annual report about ethics which states: “The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of an hour.”
Strauss-Khan’s lawyer Amit Mehta declined comment, and said he hadn’t yet seen the decision.