Kahn’s lawyers also argued that the allegations by Nafissatou Diallo impeded the International Monetary Fund “at a time of worldwide financial crisis and instability,” according to the motion to dismiss filed in New York state Supreme Court in the Bronx.
A grand jury had indicted Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF managing director, based on the woman’s accusation that he had forced her to perform oral sex in a luxury suite on May 14.
But prosecutors later asked a judge to drop the criminal charges because they had lost faith in her credibility, and the judge dismissed the case.
Lawyers for the onetime French presidential hopeful argued his position as IMF chief granted him diplomatic immunity that extended even after his resignation until he was free to return to France.
Strauss-Kahn returned home to Paris late last month when prosecutors decided to abandon their pursuit of sexual assault and rape charges against him.
“This court must dismiss the complaint against defendant Dominique Strauss-Kahn because, under controlling international law that all federal and state courts are bound to apply, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was immune from civil suit,” the motion said.
Strauss-Kahn had been a favourite to run as the next president of France before he was hauled from a first-class seat on a flight from New York to Paris and arrested on May 14. He resigned from the IMF four days later, his political plans in tatters.
He still faces the civil suit and a separate inquiry in France from a writer who says Strauss-Kahn forced himself on her during a 2003 interview.
Prosecutors from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance detailed how they lost faith in Diallo, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea.
While her account of the assault remained steadfast, Diallo told a series of lies about her past and about what happened immediately after the incident in the $3 000-a-night suite in New York’s Sofitel hotel, prosecutors said.
Strauss-Kahn strongly denied sexual assault from the start and in a recent interview with French television apologised to his country for an encounter he called “moral error” that was consensual. He also vowed to stay out of the Socialist Party’s 2012 election campaign in France. – Reuters