News

Lawyers Request Diplomatic Immunity for Strauss-Kahn

Peter Fedynsky

A New York State judge is considering whether to grant a motion of diplomatic immunity in a civil case filed against former International Monetary Fund Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn. A hotel maid who alleges he sexually assaulted her. 

Bronx Supreme Court Judge Douglas McKeon heard arguments Wednesday by Strauss-Kahn lawyers that he is entitled to immunity by virtue of his former position, as well as international custom and law.  Attorney Amit Mehta made the assertion even though the United States did not sign a 1947 United Nations agreement that granted such immunity to the heads of specialized international agencies.

“Mr. Strauss-Kahn enjoyed the same kind of diplomatic immunity in process and suit that other high-ranking officials and diplomats enjoy and who are resident in this country - people like the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Russian Consul,” the attorney noted.

A criminal case against Strauss-Kahn was dismissed last year because of questions about the veracity of his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo.  She worked as a hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault last May.  Diallo has now filed a civil suit.  Her lawyers argue that the defense motion is a desperate attempt to delay her day in court. They say diplomatic immunity is meant to protect institutions, not individuals, noting that neither the IMF nor the U.S. State Department invoked it on Strauss-Kahn’s behalf.

“If he had immunity, then why didn’t his lawyers say a single word about his immunity during the criminal case," attorney Kenneth Thompson argued.  "It does not make sense.”

The hearing in New York comes amid fresh legal troubles for Dominique Strauss-Kahn in his native France.  He is facing charges there that he helped procure prostitutes for sexual orgies.  His lawyers refer to them as soirees that are not illegal under French law.  Attorney Richard Malka says his client strongly denies the pimping charge.

“Supposing even that he had known the status of the women in question, we have to remember that the fact of having relations with an escort would not be an infraction of French law and would be question of an entirely legitimate private matter between consenting adults,” he said.

Diallo’s attorneys say the proceedings in France will have no bearing on the civil case in New York.  Judge McKeon says he will try to expedite his decision about Strauss-Kahn’s immunity.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gab
March 30, 2012 5:50 AM
Do you remember Clinton/Monica Lewisnky. Two consenting adults. The President put himself in the position to be blackmailed. He took the advantage of a subordinate. He did it on the peoples time and in the people's house. He was already being watched for a half dozen other indiscretions. When you give the people this much fuel to work with, what do you think is going to be the likely outcome? - Exposure

by: Rob Swift
March 29, 2012 4:20 PM
The first principle (Law) is a simple one. If these(lawyers or charlatans) try to forgive Strauss Khan they will pay his price as well as him.

by: Paddy O
March 29, 2012 4:12 PM
He is not a diplomat. I'm certain America did not sign that 1947 treaty for good reason, and after reading this I am glad we didn't. We are not a banana republic, Strauss-Kahn will be given a fair trial. The plaintiff's attorneys have a great point, why didn't he waive his passport to the cops when they dragged him off the plane and declare immunity like that South African guy in Lethal Weapon 2?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs