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DSK lawyers urge case dismissal

Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have tried to persuade a judge in New York to throw out a hotel maid's lawsuit against the former International Monetary Fund leader, arguing that he has diplomatic immunity from a civil case that stems from the same sexual assault allegations that were dropped in criminal court last year.

"Dismissal, your honour, may seem like an unfair result to some, but it's the result the law compels," said one of Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, Amit Mehta.

The hearing came as Mr Strauss-Kahn faces fresh charges in his native France amid a prostitution investigation.

The 62-year-old diplomat, once a potential French presidential candidate, was charged last year with attempted rape and other crimes after his May 14 encounter with hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, but the criminal case was dismissed after prosecutors lost faith in her credibility.

Still, she vowed to have her day in court and sued Mr Strauss-Kahn.

The hearing, the first in the lawsuit, dealt with complex laws that shield diplomats from prosecution and lawsuits in their host countries.

Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers argued that he is immune under a 1947 UN agreement that afforded the privilege to heads of "specialised agencies," including the International Monetary Fund. Mr Strauss-Kahn was carrying a travel document at the time that said he was entitled to those immunities, his lawyers say.

Courts "have dismissed suits just like this one on grounds of immunity," Mr Mehta told Bronx state Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon before an audience that included a cadre of reporters.

Neither Mr Strauss-Kahn nor Ms Diallo, 33, attended the hearing.

Ms Diallo's attorneys have said Mr Strauss-Kahn's argument is overreaching and misses the mark.

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