Strauss-Kahn hopes to settle with maid in 'few days'

30th November 2012, Comments 0 comments

Disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn hopes to settle out of court "in a few days" with the Manhattan hotel maid whose sex assault allegation triggered his spectacular downfall, his lawyer said Friday.

The one-time favorite for the French presidency could soon be putting his sordid 18-month legal battle in the United States to rest if he and the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, agree on the still undisclosed terms of the settlement.

"I am hoping that we will have a signed agreement in a few days," Strauss-Kahn's attorney William Taylor told AFP.

Taylor said negotiations are ongoing, but refused to give details of any pay-off and called a report in France's Le Monde newspaper that Strauss-Kahn was ready to pay Diallo $6 million if she drops her civil suit "dramatically inaccurate."

"He never even suggested that," Taylor said.

Taylor said he was "optimistic but realistic." However, he cautioned "we don't have one (a deal) yet, and so until you have a signed agreement, you don't really have an agreement."

Earlier, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers called Le Monde's $6 million figure and the report that the one-time high flier would take out a $3 million loan -- with the rest coming from his wealthy estranged wife -- "imaginary and mistaken."

If a deal is reached, it would be finalized in Bronx Supreme Court.

Judge Douglas McKeon, who is presiding over the civil case in New York, told AFP "there may be a court session as early as next week," but declined to comment further.

Until now, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers repeatedly said they would not agree to a deal and called Diallo a gold digger. Her legal team insisted equally strongly that she wanted her day in court to confront her alleged abuser.

Diallo's allegation of attempted rape in May 2011 triggered a stunning fall from grace for Strauss-Kahn, who had been seen as close to announcing he would run in an upcoming French presidential election.

Criminal charges were quickly brought, and then thrown out when Manhattan prosecutors said Diallo's testimony wouldn't stand up in court.

Meanwhile, Diallo filed her own civil lawsuit in a Bronx court, alleging that the 63-year-old leapt on her, naked, and forced her into oral sex.

Strauss-Kahn -- who says a hurried, but consensual, sex act took place in his luxury room -- returned immediately to France after the criminal case disintegrated.

However, by then Strauss-Kahn's career was in tatters, his marriage was on the rocks and he soon faced a string of other sex-related investigations by French authorities.

In France, Strauss-Kahn will learn December 19 if he is to face further investigation into pimping charges arising from allegations that he and associates arranged sex parties with prostitutes in the northern French city of Lille.

His lawyers have filed a request for the charges to be dismissed.

French prosecutors last month dropped an investigation into Strauss-Kahn's alleged participation in a gang rape after the woman involved said she had consented and was not pressing charges.

Strauss-Kahn has also been accused by 32-year-old author Tristane Banon of trying to rape her in 2002.

French investigating magistrates questioned Strauss-Kahn and his accuser and concluded that while there appeared to be evidence of a sexual assault, the alleged attack had occurred too long ago to be prosecuted.

© 2012 AFP

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