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US Judge Rejects 'Immunity' for Former IMF Chief

Judge Douglas E. McKeon looks at paperwork during the civil case between Nafissatou Diallo and Dominique Strauss-Kahn at Bronx State Supreme Court, New York, March 28, 2012.
Judge Douglas E. McKeon looks at paperwork during the civil case between Nafissatou Diallo and Dominique Strauss-Kahn at Bronx State Supreme Court, New York, March 28, 2012.

The former head of the International Monetary Fund will have to appear in court in connection with allegations he tried to rape a hotel maid in New York.

A U.S. judge Tuesday rejected a motion by Dominique Strauss-Kahn to have the lawsuit thrown out on the grounds he has diplomatic immunity.

Bronx state Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon ruled the French politician cannot claim immunity from the civil suit filed by New York hotel maid Nafisatou Diallo because he did not claim immunity following his arrest last May. The judge said Strauss-Kahn further undermined any claim to immunity by resigning shortly after the alleged incident became public.

Diallo said Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in his Manhattan hotel suite, but prosecutors dropped criminal charges last summer, citing doubts about Diallo's credibility.

Diallo then filed suit against Strauss-Kahn in civil court. Strauss-Kahn has denied doing anything violent during the encounter with Diallo.

Strauss-Kahn's attorney, Amit Mehta, had argued that an IMF chief enjoys the same diplomatic immunity as a French ambassador. Mehta argued that executives of the international agencies such as the IMF and the United Nations need immunity from prosecution so that these agencies can function properly.

Diallo's lawyers said the immunity claim relies on a U.N. agreement the U.S. did not sign.

In March, the former IMF chief was charged with pimping as part of organized crime in France. His French lawyers said Strauss-Kahn is being hounded for his libertine ways.  The Socialist politician was once considered a top rival to President Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential election.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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