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Strauss-Kahn countersuit: Opening the door to his sexual past?

Legal experts say Strauss-Kahn's lawsuit could give New York maid Nafissatou Diallo's attorneys greater freedom to present evidence of Strauss-Kahn's sexual history, including allegations involving other women.

by FP Staff 19 May 04:15 am IST

     

New York: Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn struck back this week at the hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault with a sharply worded countersuit claiming defamation, but lawyers say the filing could backfire.

Legal experts say Strauss-Kahn's lawsuit could give New York maid Nafissatou Diallo's attorneys greater freedom to present evidence of Strauss-Kahn's sexual history, including allegations involving other women.

Without the defamation claim, "it would have been quite unlikely that they could bring up prior allegations," said David Golomb, former president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. "Now I believe he's opened the door to all these things."

Diallo, a maid at the Sofitel Hotel in midtown Manhattan, claimed Strauss-Kahn forced her to perform oral sex in his suite last year.

The scandal made headlines around the world, caused Strauss-Kahn to resign as head of the IMF and scuttled his expected bid for the French presidency.

Strauss-Kahn has said the sexual encounter was consensual, and prosecutors eventually dropped the criminal case after they grew concerned about Diallo's credibility. They said she invented details about her past and altered her version of what happened intermediately following the incident in Strauss-Kahn's suite. Diallo filed a civil lawsuit against him in August, weeks before the criminal charges were dismissed.

On Monday, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers filed counterclaims in Bronx County Supreme Court for defamation, emotional distress, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and false imprisonment.

Douglas Wigdor, one of Diallo's lawyers, said the countersuit removed any barriers to introducing what he called Strauss-Kahn's "prior bad acts."

"Some of it would have come in. Some of it wouldn't have come in," he said. "But there can be no question that the defense to his claim of emotional distress or damages to his....
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