A once seemingly compelling sexual harassment and assault case against former International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, fell apart last week when the 32-year-old Guinean maid who claimed that the 62-year-old scion assaulted her, lost credibility as a witness. Apparently, the validity of many of the statements she made about what happened after the alleged attack (among other issues) is highly questionable. In the wake of the maid’s damaged credibility, the prosecution’s case crumbled. Mr. Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest, and pundits are currently unsure about how (or even if) legal action will now be pursued.
As if the unexpected “flameout” wasn’t story enough, Strauss-Kahn’s accuser is now suing the New York Post and five reporters for libel for insinuating that she had worked as a prostitute. The maid filed the suit on Tuesday at a state Supreme Court in the Bronx. She claims that Post reporters “falsely, maliciously and with reckless regard for the truth stated as a fact that the plaintiff is a ‘prostitute’ ‘hooker’ ‘working girl’ and/or ‘routinely traded sex for money with male guests’ of the Sofitel Hotel located in Manhattan.”
A Post spokesperson responded to the suit, saying that the paper stood by its reporting. The Post claims that insiders from Strauss-Kahn’s defense team revealed that the maid had received “extraordinary tips” from male patrons of the hotel and had received expenses “paid for by men not related to her.” So far, prosecutors and police have not found evidence to support allegations that the maid engaged in prostitution.
And so, the sordid tale continues. We can learn two lessons from all of this:
1. Seemingly simple (if newsworthy) cases of racial discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour violations, etc. can evolve into labyrinthine complications as the result of thorough research and analysis.
2. Witnesses, defendants and victims often find themselves under intense pressure and can make horrific judgments that can compound the problems and lead to vast legal (and other) trouble.
The moral is that, if you or someone you care about has been subjected to sexual harassment, workplace mistreatment, or retaliation, the sooner you contact a reputable New York employment law firm (such as Joseph & Kirschenbaum), the faster you will be able to understand your options and chart a course to get the respect you deserve, the compensation you need, and the stability in your life you crave, under guidance from seasoned professionals.
Connect with the JHLLP team by calling (212) 688-5640, or learn more about the firm’s background, history, and philosophy at www.jhllp.com.