A US judge has granted a request by ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyers seeking more time to prepare their defence in a civil lawsuit slapped against him by a hotel maid, who had accused him of sexually abusing her, allowing them to respond to the complaint by September 26.
Judge Douglas McKeon of a New York court ruled "motion granted", noting that "at the time of the commencement of this action, defendant was under criminal indictment, and understandably, focused on the criminal charges against him."
Strauss-Kahn's lawyers now have time till September 26 to respond to the August 8 complaint filed by 32-year-old Guinean immigrant Nafissatou Diallo.
The former IMF head was cleared of criminal charges last month after prosecutors said they cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the May 14 sexual encounter between Diallo and him in a posh Manhattan hotel suite was forced and non-consensual.
Medical investigation did reveal that a sexual encounter took place between the two, but Strauss-Kahn's defence team insisted that it was consensual.
Prosecutors had said Diallo gave conflicting and inconsistent versions of the sexual encounter making it difficult for them to trust her credibility.
Diallo filed a separate civil suit against Strauss-Kahn in a Bronx court seeking unspecified damages for the "sadistic" attack.
Strauss-Kahn returned to France on September 4 and is set to speak in a prime-time French television interview on Sunday.
Diallo's lawyers Kenneth Thompson said in a statement that Strauss-Kahn should answer questions about the May incident during the interview, otherwise it "will simply be a public relations stunt."