Strauss-Kahn Accuser Sues New York Post for Libel

The hotel housekeeper who accused ex-International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her filed a libel lawsuit against the New York Post after the tabloid published articles in which she was described as a prostitute.

The New York Post reported that the accuser was "turning tricks" at the Sofitel Hotel where Strauss-Kahn allegedly sexually assaulted her on May 14. The newspaper alleged that she reported the incident after growing angry with Strauss-Kahn for refusing to pay for what they characterized as consensual sexual act.

They also reported that she "continued to work as a prostitute" after being placed in a safehouse by the District Attorney's office.

The woman's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Bronx State Supreme Court said "all of these statements are false," and have subjected the woman to "humiliation, scorn and ridicule throughout the world."

Strauss-Kahn, 62-year-old former managing director of the IMF, was released from house arrest on Friday after information that severely undermined the credibility of his accuser surfaced. Subsequently, the sustainability of the charges against him remained in question.

In its articles, the Post quoted a senior prosecutor and unnamed sources the paper said were close to the defense and prosecution.

A spokeswoman for the paper, Suzanne Halpin, said, "We stand by our reporting," and declined to answer other questions.

The lawsuit, next to the Post, names five of its reporters – Laura Italiano, Brad Hamilton, Larry Celona, Cathy Burke and Gary Buiso – as defendants. It cites three articles by those authors: "Maid cleaning up as a hooker," (July 2), "Dominique Strauss-Kahn 'refused to pay' hooker maid for sex," and "Maid 'laid' low as DA paid for digs," (July 3).

"In an apparent desperate attempt to bolster its rapidly plunging sales," the lawsuit states, "New York Post ran a series of defamatory articles."

Prosecutors' investigators discovered that the 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea lied on her asylum application about harsh conditions she and her late husband faced. Additionally, she also told prosecutors she had been a victim of a gang rape in Guinea, but later admitted lying about the event.

She also falsified her tax returns, failing to report all income and claiming a friend’s child to increase her tax refund.

"It is clear that the strength of the case has been affected by the substantial credibility issues relating to the complaining witness," Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said during the hearing in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Friday.

After the hearing, Thompson attacked the DA’s office, accusing it of being afraid of losing another high profile case. He vigorously defended his client on Friday and said her story has been consistent.

"She has described that sexual assault many times, to the prosecutors and to me, and she has never once changed a single thing about that account," he said.