In a major legal setback to former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a US judge today ruled that he does not enjoy diplomatic immunity in a sexual assault lawsuit against him, rejecting his motion to dismiss the case and paving the way for the suit to head to trial in New York.
Judge Douglas McKeon of Supreme Court of the State of New York in the Bronx ruled that 62-year-old French cannot claim diplomatic immunity in the case since he had resigned from his post of Managing Director at the International Monetary Fund months before the civil lawsuit was filed by hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo in August last year.
A one time French presidential hopeful, Strauss-Kahn was arrested and was slapped with criminal charges after Diallo alleged he had sexually assualted her in his hotel suite in May 2011.
The criminal charges were however dropped against Strauss-Kahn in August last year after prosecutors said they could not prove the charges "beyond a reasonable doubt" due to the lack of credibility in Diallo's accounts of the incident.
Strauss-Kahn had then sought dismissal of the civil lawsuit, which Diallo had filed on August 8, citing that the court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the case since he enjoyed diplomatic immunity in his position as IMF chief.
In the civil lawsuit, Diallo sought damages for injuries and other losses she "suffered" due to the sexual assaut.
McKeon, in his 12-page ruling handed down today, denied Strauss-Kahn's motion for dismissal of the civil lawsuit.
McKeon began ruling with a Japanese proverb used in IMF's 2011 annual report that said,"The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour".
The judge said Strauss-Kahn had resigned from his IMF post on May 18, 2011 after which he was indicted on criminal charges.
He had not sought diplomatic immunity during the criminal case against him.