On the day he might well have been sworn in as the new president of France, former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn instead filed a million-dollar countersuit against the New York City hotel maid whose accusation of attempted rape one year ago cost him his job and derailed his political aspirations.
In court papers filed in the Bronx, Strauss-Kahn said he suffered "grievous harm" to his personal and professional reputation, "emotional distress" and financial hardship because of what he called Nafissatou Diallo's "malicious and wanton false accusation." The defamation claim asks for $1 million in damages.
On May 14, 2011, Diallo accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to sexually assault her inside room 2806 at the Sofitel in Times Square. Strauss-Kahn was indicted by a grand jury on May 19.
Criminal charges were formally dismissed in August after prosecutors came to question Diallo's credibility. By then, however, Strauss-Kahn had resigned as head of the IMF and was no longer the front runner to be the Socialist Party's candidate for president. Polls had shown him defeating incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy in the general election. The man who ultimately won the Socialist Party's nod, Francois Hollande, beat Sarkozy and was sworn in as president earlier today.
"Ms. Diallo's conduct," Strauss-Kahn's lawsuit said, "was so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized society."
Strauss-Kahn's attorney William W. Taylor III said in a statement that the suit "should come as no surprise."
"She is directly responsible for his being arrested, imprisoned, and subjected to extraordinary pain, anguish and expense," said Taylor. "Her conduct is not without consequence for her and he is not required to simply endure what she did and her effort to profit for herself without fighting back."
Diallo had earlier filed her own suit against Strauss-Kahn, for what she called a "violent and sadistic" attack. The suit alleges that Strauss-Kahn ""intentionally, brutally and violently sexually assaulted Ms Diallo and in the process, humiliated, degraded, violated and robbed Ms Diallo of her dignity as a woman."
Diallo's attorneys, Ken Thompson and Douglas Wigdor, called Strauss-Kahn's countersuit a "desperate ploy" in a statement provided to ABC News.
"One year to the day of his brutal sexual assault of Ms. Diallo," they wrote, "this is yet another example that personifies Strauss-Kahn's misogynistic attitude."
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