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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dominique Strauss-Kahn and maid who accused him of attempted rape reportedly settle lawsuit

NEW YORK — Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and a hotel maid who accused him of trying to rape her have reached an agreement to settle her lawsuit against him, a person familiar with the case said Thursday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private negotiation. The details of the deal were unknown.

Strauss-Kahn lawyer William Taylor wouldn't comment Thursday. Lawyers for the housekeeper didn't immediately respond to phone and email messages.

The person said Bronx Supreme Court Judge Douglas McKeon facilitated the agreement, which hasn't been signed.

The deal would end a legal saga that forced Strauss-Kahn's resignation as head of the IMF and ended his French presidential ambitions last year. Prosecutors dropped related criminal charges.

The housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, said Strauss-Kahn attacked her when she arrived to clean his upscale Manhattan hotel suite in May 2011. He said their encounter was consensual and called the lawsuit defamatory.

Strauss-Kahn, 63, initially argued that he had diplomatic immunity from the lawsuit. A judge turned down that claim in May.

Strauss-Kahn said Diallo, who's from Guinea, had sullied his reputation with a "malicious and wanton false accusation." And when prosecutors dropped criminal charges against him, they said they had developed concerns about her credibility. But she said she told the truth about their encounter.

The charges against Strauss-Kahn seemed to open a floodgate of further sex-crime accusations in France, some going back years, against a man who had been seen as a randy charmer. He has acknowledged some "libertine" behavior but denied doing anything criminal or violent.

In August, a separate case against Strauss-Kahn that centered on allegations of rape in a Washington, D.C., hotel was dropped after prosecutors said the accuser, an escort, changed her account to say no rape was involved in the encounter when Strauss-Kahn headed the IMF.

Diallo's lawyers had long emphasized that a grand jury found there was enough evidence to indict Strauss-Kahn, and they said prosecutors cravenly discredited Diallo to extricate themselves from a daunting, high-profile case. The attorneys portrayed the lawsuit as her way of getting justice in another court.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said he dropped the case in August 2011 because he ultimately wasn't sure what transpired between Strauss-Kahn and Diallo.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Diallo has done.

The New York Times first reported the agreement.

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