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Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces Washington gang-rape claim

A prosecutor in France is to consider claims by two prostitutes that ousted Intermational Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was involved in a gang rape at a party in Washington, according to a French newspaper.

The paper, Liberation, reported (in French) that it was alleged that two businessmen and a senior French police officer were present during the attack in 2010, when Strauss-Kahn was being tipped to become the next French president.

Judges in France asked a French prosecutor to look into the escorts' claims and the prosecutor is due to announce next week if a further, formal investigation will take place, according to Liberation. Meantime, the New York Times reported the assault allegedly occured at a "sex party" at the W Hotel in Washington in December 2010.

Strauss-Kahn and the others have not been charged in relation to the claim, but Strauss-Kahn does face separate charges of “aggravated pimping.”

The escorts made the claims about the alleged gang rape in testimony given during the ongoing investigation of Strauss-Kahn’s involvement in an organized prostitution ring in Normandy.

Former IMF boss, Dominique Strauss Kahn, continues to face sexual charges on both sides of the Atlantic. There is an alleged rape charge in the U.S. and alleged involvement in a prostitution ring in France. ITN's Martin Geissler reports.

The alleged assault in Washington took place during a three-day trip to the city. The two escorts had accompanied two French businessman as their secretaries, according to Liberation's report.

It alleged that one of the escorts, called "Marion," was raped by Strauss-Kahn in the presence of the three others, who she said did nothing to stop what was described as rough sex despite her vocal protests. 

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According to excerpts of eyewitness testimony published by Liberation online, the others looked on while Strauss-Kahn "held her hands down, grabbed her hair and hurt her." The escort also alleged that one of the other men held her hands down as Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her.

The woman gave testimony in the ongoing investigation but did not press charges in relation to the Washington incident. Normally victims need to press charges for a case to be brought, but officials can decide to do so in certain cases.

The prosecutor will now decide whether to pursue the investigation to determine if there are grounds for a "group rape" charge.

NYC maid can sue
On Tuesday, a judge in New York ruled that a sexual assault lawsuit brought by hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, 33, against Strauss-Kahn could go forward to trial, rebuffing his claim that he had diplomatic immunity.

State Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon's ruling kept alive the civil case that emerged from a May 2011 hotel-room encounter that also spurred now-dismissed criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn. The episode was the first in a series of allegations about his sexual conduct that sank his political career.

CNBC's Scott Cohn reports that Dominique Strauss-Kahn had tried to claim diplomatic immunity in fighting off the suit by the hotel maid.

The housekeeper said Strauss-Kahn, 63, tried to rape her when she arrived to clean his Manhattan hotel suite. Strauss-Kahn has denied doing anything violent during the encounter.

Prosecutors dropped the criminal charges last summer, saying they had developed doubts about Diallo's trustworthiness because she had lied about her background and her actions right after the alleged attack. Diallo has insisted she told the truth about what happened in the encounter itself.

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Strauss-Kahn resigned his IMF job days after his arrest, and he didn't assert immunity from the criminal prosecution; his lawyers have said he was focused then on trying to exonerate himself. But after the lawsuit was filed, about three months later, they said he should have immunity from the civil case.

Invoking an American sports metaphor, the judge said their argument amounted to a "Hail Mary" pass, and one that raised a question of fairness.

"Strauss-Kahn cannot eschew immunity (in the criminal case) in an effort to clear his name only to embrace it now to deny Ms. Diallo the opportunity to clear hers," the judge wrote. 

NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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