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Strauss-Kahn cleared as judge ends sexual-assault case May take legal action against hotel maid

Dominique Strauss-Kahn became a free man Tuesday when a judge ended the sexual-assault case against him at the request of prosecutors, who said the hotel maid who accused the former International Monetary Fund chief couldn't be trusted.

Shortly after the decision, one of his lawyers said Strauss-Kahn might take legal action in civil court against the hotel maid who accused him, in the now-dismissed criminal case and in her ongoing civil lawsuit, of sexually assaulting her in May at a Manhattan hotel.

Strauss-Kahn, a former French presidential candidate, could file his own suit to counter housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo's suit, "and that's certainly a consideration, because she did lie, and he has suffered enormous damages as a result of those lies," lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Strauss-Kahn, who resigned his IMF post, spent five days in jail and then spent about six weeks under house arrest before being freed July 1.

The dismissal came after prosecutors said they couldn't pursue the case because of doubts about Diallo's credibility and a lack of other evidence to prove a forced sexual encounter.

Diallo wasn't truthful with prosecutors about several aspects of her life and changed her account of what she did right after the alleged attack, prosecutors said.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have long said the encounter at a luxurious Manhattan hotel, though brief, was consensual. But while Diallo has told her account of it in interviews, in her lawsuit and in the now-defunct prosecution, the married Strauss-Kahn doesn't want to detail his version of what happened, Brafman said.

"What happened in that room, so long as we have now confirmed that it wasn't criminal, is really not something that needs to be discussed publicly," Brafman said in the AP interview.

"You can engage in behavior that you're not proud of, and maybe some people might consider it inappropriate -- it doesn't mean that you committed a crime. And it's not something that you may want to discuss, at the end of the day."

Diallo's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, didn't immediately respond to an email inquiry about the possibility of Strauss-Kahn filing a countersuit in civil court.

Thompson has said it's "utter nonsense" to say the encounter was consensual. Earlier Tuesday, he blasted the dismissal of the case, saying prosecutors "would not allow a woman to have her day in court."

Diallo says Strauss-Kahn chased her down in his hotel suite on May 14, grabbed her, pushed her to the ground and forced her to perform oral sex. His semen was found on her uniform, and a gynecological exam found a mark that her lawyer cited as evidence of an attack.

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