A New York judge has given lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn more time to prepare their defense in a civil suit brought by a hotel maid who accused the former IMF chief of sexual assault.
"Motion... is granted," judge Douglas McKeon said in a ruling obtained by AFP on Friday. Strauss-Kahn's attorneys now have until September 26 to respond to the complaint filed on August 8 by the maid, Nafissatou Diallo.
"At the time of the commencement of this action, defendant was under criminal indictment, and understandably, focused on the criminal charges against him," the judge wrote.
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.
But late last month, the French economist walked free 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, 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, whose political future is up in the air, is due to break his silence in a prime-time French television interview on Sunday.