Strauss-Kahn Accuser Sues New York Post Over Allegations Of Prostitution
The prosecution against Dominique Strauss-Kahn may be falling apart, but the case is taking another interesting turn:
The hotel maid in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case filed a libel suit against The New York Post on Tuesday over a series of articles it published during the Fourth of July weekend claiming that she was a prostitute.
The maid argues in the suit that front-page headlines such as “DSK Maid a Hooker,” “DSK ‘Refused to Pay’ Hooker Maid for Sex” and “She Saw Johns While in DA Protection!” — and the articles that went with them — were false, and that The Post knew or should have known that they were false.
The suit states at various points that the articles subjected the woman to humiliation, shame, scorn, emotional injury, embarrassment, loss of standing in the community, loss of self-esteem, public disgrace, severe and extreme emotional distress and “ridicule throughout the world.”
“In an apparent desperate attempt to bolster its rapidly plunging sales,” the suit states, “Defendant New York Post ran a series of defamatory articles.”
The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, where the woman lives, seeks unspecified monetary damages and asks that a judge bar The Post from publishing further such malicious untruths about her. It also names the reporters who wrote the stories as defendants.
The first article cited in the suit, “Maid cleaning up as ‘hooker’,” by Laura Italiano, ran July 2. Citing “a source close to the defense investigation,” it reports that the woman “was doing double duty as a prostitute, collecting cash on the side from male guests,” and “was allegedly purposely assigned to the Midtown hotel by her union because it knew she would bring in big bucks.” The suit states: “This false and scurrilous statement constitutes defamation and libel per se committed against the plaintiff.”
Two follow-up articles published July 3, “Maid ‘laid’ low as DA paid for digs,” by Brad Hamilton and Larry Celona, and “Dominique Strauss-Kahn ‘refused to pay’ hooker maid for sex,” by Brad Hamilton and Cathy Burke, were also cited in the suit.
A spokeswoman for The Post, Suzi Halpin, stated, “We stand by our reporting” and declined to comment further.
Notwithstanding the public notoriety of this case, it seems unlikely that this woman would be considered a “public figure” under the New York Times v. Sullivan standard, meaning that the burden of proof would be lower. Of course, given the fact that this woman apparently has a history of questionable veracity I’m not sure how well she’d do if this case ever went to trial.
One other thought. Now that she is a Plaintiff in a civil lawsuit against a major newspaper which is owned by a major corporation, why should the media keep her name secret any longer?