The defense of Dominique Strauss-Kahn


In a case that dominated world media attention for much of 2011, Zuckerman Spaeder represented Dominique Strauss-Kahn against charges of sexual assault against a hotel maid in New York City.

At the time of his arrest on May 15, 2011, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was the managing director of the International Monetary Fund and he was widely considered to be one of the most important economists in the world.

Having been credited with saving the economies of several European countries, many had predicted Mr. Strauss-Kahn to be the favorite in the next French presidential election.

To lead his defense, Mr. Strauss-Kahn engaged William W. Taylor, III, along R. Miles Clark, Steven Herman, Shawn P. Naunton, former partner, Hon. Amit Mehta, and New York attorney Benjamin Brafman.

Under the media spotlight


The charges were serious, with Mr. Strauss-Kahn facing a prison sentence of up to 25 years if convicted. The immediate public and media attention was unrelenting, with more than 10,000 news pieces published on the case.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn maintained his innocence from the outset. In late May, the defense team wrote to the prosecutors, notifying them about substantial information undermining the case and casting grave doubt on the credibility of the accuser.

Investigation of the facts

A subsequent prosecution investigation revealed the accuser had lied in previous interviews with the government, misrepresented her income, gave inconsistent accounts of the events surrounding the accusations against Mr. Strauss-Kahn, and, in a conversation with an incarcerated boyfriend, referred to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s wealth and boasted about how she was handling the matter of accusing Mr. Strauss-Kahn of assault.


In the space of 101 days, Mr. Strauss-Kahn went from arrest and detention without bail, to a release under heavy conditions, then finally, on August 23, 2011, exoneration, with Manhattan Supreme Court granting a prosecution motion to drop all criminal charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn.


Zuckerman Spaeder also represented Mr. Strauss-Kahn when the accuser sued him in civil court. On December 10, 2012, a civil settlement was reached, bringing final resolution to the matter.

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