On December 7, 2020, Wigdor LLP Founding Partner Douglas H. Wigdor will appear in a four-part documentary series on Netflix about the 2011 hotel room encounter involving French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn, one of the most famous sexual assault cases in modern history.
Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a onetime prospect for the French presidency who was widely known by the moniker “DSK,” served as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2007-2011. On May 14, 2011, DSK was accused of attacking Nafissatou Diallo and forcing her to perform oral sex while she was working as a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York Hotel. He was arrested that night and charged with seven counts, including sexual assault and attempted rape. Four days later, Mr. Strauss-Kahn resigned from the IMF.
Mr. Wigdor, who represented Ms. Diallo, spoke with filmmakers at length about the alleged events that took place on the night in question, the global media coverage of the case, and the New York District Attorney’s ultimate failure to bring the criminal charges against DSK to trial.
The docuseries explores the DSK case as a precursor to the global #MeToo movement, which erupted in October 2017 after allegations of widespread sexual abuse against film tycoon Harvey Weinstein came to light. Mr. Wigdor currently represents six victims of alleged sexual abuse by Mr. Weinstein, including one woman who testified against Mr. Weinstein at his criminal trial in New York and helped secure his criminal conviction and sentence of 23 years in prison.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse at the beginning of the trial, Mr. Wigdor remarked how society’s understanding of sexual assault and rape had evolved since the DSK case:
“In 2011, I had the privilege of representing Nafissatou Diallo, the maid who we alleged had been sexually assaulted and raped by Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Unfortunately, that case ended with the D.A. dismissing the indictment. But today, we start a new decade, a decade that has come so far with the #MeToo movement. And today, we are beginning the process of holding Harvey Weinstein accountable for his actions.
“And so much has changed since 2011 because of #MeToo. We no longer are strapped with the rape myths and the jurors that we’ll start selecting tomorrow and going through next week are in tune with the common rape myth that people aren’t necessarily raped in dark alleys at gunpoint or knifepoint. That women often know their perpetrator. That women often speak to the perpetrator after the crime has been committed. That women often don’t go to the police or to authorities or tell their loved ones immediately after they’ve been sexually assaulted or raped. And this case will be a testament. It will be a trial not only about Harvey Weinstein but where we’ve come as a society.”
Mr. Wigdor continues to aggressively pursue claims in civil court on behalf of Mr. Weinstein’s victims, having emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of the proposed “global settlement” that was swiftly rejected by the U.S. District Court as unfair to the victims. In recognition of his work on the Weinstein cases and other high-profile legal matters, Mr. Wigdor has been named a Top 100 Hollywood Power Lawyer by The Hollywood Reporter, a Distinguished Leader by the New York Law Journal and one of the Top 100 attorneys in the New York Metro area by Super Lawyers.
The docuseries was directed by French filmmaker Jalil Lespert and produced by the CAPA agency.