Constitutional civil rights trumped diplomatic immunity, opening the door to a legal settlement. A settlement was announced in New York State Supreme Court in the sexual assault civil lawsuit filed against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF,) by Nafissatou Diallo, a hotel housekeeper at the Sofitel Hotel in midtown Manhattan.
A criminal case was previously dismissed against Strauss-Kahn when the Distinct Attorney's office determined that; "questions in regard to Ms. Diallo's credibility would reasonably cause a jury to distrust her." However, with regard to the civil sexual assault case filed against him, Strauss-Kahn failed to convince the State Supreme Court that he was diplomatically immune to the civil charges, and the case continued.
The civil case settlement was reached at a court hearing, with both parties agreeing to keep the monetary terms awarded to Ms. Diallo confidential.
Strauss-Kahn, who was not at the hearing, was arrested in May 2011, after Ms. Diallo reported to police that he had sexually assaulted her in his hotel suite. He was indicted on charges including attempted rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual act, and unlawful imprisonment. Strauss-Kahn was arrested and first held in jail without bail and won his release to house arrest only under extraordinary conditions. Amid the legal proceedings, he resigned his post as head of the IMF in disgrace and his rumored candidacy for the French presidency was abandoned.
Strauss-Kahn initially stated that the sex with Ms. Diallo was consensual. However, during a French television interview after the criminal case was dismissed, Strauss-Kahn acknowledged that the encounter was "an error" and "a moral failure" that he would forever regret. The former head of the IMF still has unresolved legal issues in France, where he, along with eight other men, were charged with participating in a sex prostitution ring, arising out of organized sex parties.
Ms. Diallo, who was at the hearing when the settlement was reached, announced and proclaimed afterward: "I thank everyone who supported me all over the world. I thank everybody. I thank God, and God bless you all."
As U.S. citizens, we must be ever vigilant in protecting our civil rights, whether it is a diplomat, employer, law enforcement or elected official. An experienced civil rights attorney can help ensure that your fundamental constitutional civil rights are protected and guide you through the legal process in pursuing or defending a civil rights claim.