Strauss-Kahn seeks dismissal of US civil case: court

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A lawyer for former IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn filed Monday for dismissal of the civil sexual assault case being brought by a New York hotel maid, a judicial source said.

"Yes, dismissal is being sought," a source told AFP at the court in the Bronx in New York, where Judge Douglas McKeon will now consider the application.

Criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn were dropped in August when prosecutors lost faith in the credibility of hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, but she is pursuing her civil case against the one-time French presidential hopeful.

Earlier this month, McKeon granted Strauss-Kahn more time, until September 26, to prepare his defense as the civil motion was filed on August 8, while his lawyers were still trying to deal with criminal charges.

Strauss-Kahn was forced to resign as managing director of the International Monetary Fund when he was arrested in May and charged with the sexual assault and attempted rape of Diallo in his suite at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan.

The French economist walked free late last month when a criminal court judge dismissed the charges against him after prosecutors said they could not pursue the case because of his accuser's lack of credibility.

DNA evidence indicated that a sexual encounter did occur between the two, but Strauss-Kahn's defense team insists that it was consensual.

Diallo, a 32-year-old Guinean immigrant, maintains her allegations and filed the civil suit against Strauss-Kahn, seeking unspecified damages for what she called a "sadistic" attack.

Strauss-Kahn says he had consensual sex with Diallo, and his attorney Benjamin Brafman described the incident as a "momentary lapse of judgment that was not criminal."

Strauss-Kahn, who was seen as a frontrunner in next year's French presidential election before the sensational charges were brought against him, returned to France on September 4.

The former French finance minister broke his silence in a prime-time French television interview on September 18.

Over 13 million people tuned in to watch the interview in which Strauss-Kahn made an admission of "a moral failing."

"What happened involved neither violence nor constraint: no criminal act," he insisted.

Strauss-Kahn still faces investigation in France over a separate claim by a young French author, Tristane Banon, that he tried to rape her in 2003.

The Socialist politician has denied any wrongdoing and lodged a countersuit for defamation.

A source close to the inquiry told AFP on condition of anonymity that Strauss-Kahn told police he made a pass at Banon but did not try to attack her.

© 2011 AFP

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