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Christopher Dickey, thedailybeast.com / Aug 8, 2011 5:15 PM EDT.
Attorneys for Nafissatou Diallo, left, have filed a civil suit against Dominique Strauss-Kahn that alleges a “violent and sadistic attack.”, Louis Lanzano / AP Photo ; Mary Altaffer / AP Photo.
Nafissatou Diallo’s attorneys depict a scene of physical confrontation and sexual violence characterized by even more ‘depravity’ than previously described.
In a ferocious assault on the personal character, professional arrogance, and sexual predilections of former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, lawyers for the hotel chambermaid who has accused him of attempted rape and criminal sexual assault filed a civil suit in New York today.
Strauss-Kahn has denied all criminal charges lodged against him, and still stands a good chance of having them dropped by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. But in their complaint on behalf of Nafissatou Diallo, a 32-year-old illiterate African immigrant employed by the Manhattan Sofitel hotel, attorneys Kenneth Thompson and Douglas Wigdor depict a scene of physical confrontation and forced oral sex characterized by more “sheer depravity,” to use their words, than previously described.
Strauss-Kahn will have at least 20 days to respond to the civil complaint from the time he is served with the papers. As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, that had not happened. He is due for a new hearing on the criminal charges on August 23.
If the rhetoric of Diallo’s attorneys could condemn, then Strauss-Kahn would be headed straight for perdition—or at least massive payments, whether settled before a jury or out of court. The burden of proof in a civil case is much lower than in a criminal case, which requires that guilt be established “beyond a reasonable doubt.” But the tenuousness of the criminal case against Strauss-Kahn (or DSK, as he’s widely known) stems from doubts about the plaintiff’s past and her history of lying on official documents, including a fictionalized claim of rape on her asylum application. How those will play in a civil court remains an open question, and Thompson and Wigdor have been fighting a high-profile battle to keep the criminal case engaged even as they prepared the civil suit.