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Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
NEW YORK — Word of a settlement agreement between former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and a hotel maid who accused him of trying to rape her could bring an end to a saga that has tarnished Strauss-Kahn’s reputation, ended his hopes for the French presidency and renewed a debate about the credibility of sexual assault accusers.
But it might not mean the end of legal troubles for Strauss-Kahn. He is awaiting a ruling on whether he is linked to “pimping” in connection with a French prostitution ring.
A person familiar with the New York case said Thursday that lawyers for Strauss-Kahn and the housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, made the as-yet-unsigned agreement within recent days, with Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon facilitating that and a separate agreement to end another lawsuit Diallo filed against the New York Post. A court date is expected next week, though the day wasn’t set, the person said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private agreement.
Details of the deal, which comes after prosecutors dropped related criminal charges last year, weren’t immediately known and likely will be veiled by a confidentiality agreement. That could prevent Strauss-Kahn and Diallo from speaking publicly about a May 2011 encounter that she called a brutally sudden attack and he termed a consensual “moral failing.”
Strauss-Kahn lawyer William W. Taylor III declined to comment. Lawyers for the housekeeper didn’t immediately respond to phone and email messages.
Diallo, 33, and Strauss-Kahn, 63, crossed paths when she arrived to clean his luxury Manhattan hotel suite. She told police he chased her down, tried to yank down her pantyhose and forced her to perform oral sex.
The allegation seemed to let loose a spiral of accusations about the sexual conduct of Strauss-Kahn, a married diplomat and economist who had long been dubbed the “great seducer.”
With DNA evidence showing a sexual encounter and Diallo providing a gripping description of an attack, the Manhattan district attorney’s office initially said it had a strong and compelling case. But within six weeks, prosecutors’ confidence began to ebb as they said Diallo had lied about her past — including a false account of a previous rape — and her actions after leaving Strauss-Kahn’s room.
Diallo, who’s from Guinea, said she told the truth about their encounter. But the district attorney’s office dropped the charges in August 2011, saying prosecutors could no longer ask a jury to believe her.
Diallo had sued Strauss-Kahn in the meantime, with her lawyers saying she would get her day in a different court. Strauss-Kahn called the lawsuit defamatory and countersued her for $1 million.
Her lawsuit against The Post concerned a series of articles that called her a prostitute and said she sold sex at a hotel where the Manhattan DA’s office had housed her during the criminal case. The News Corp.newspaper has said it stands by its reporting; a spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday.
In helping resolve the cases, McKeon averted what could have been an ugly court drama.
Strauss-Kahn initially said he had diplomatic immunity, an argument the judge turned down in May. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers had since asked McKeon to throw out part of her claim for other legal reasons. Court records show the judge had yet to rule on that and several other legal issues, and it appeared that a high-stakes step — depositions, or pretrial questioning under oath — had not yet been taken. Depositions can give both sides information and a better picture of how strong the key parties and other witnesses might be in court.
While the vast majority of civil cases end in settlements, some legal observers were surprised that the deal between Strauss-Kahn and Diallo came before the legal arguments were resolved.
“I really expected it to go a little farther,” said Matthew Galluzzo, a criminal defense lawyer and civil litigator who has been following the Strauss-Kahn case closely.
Still, the case likely had taken a toll on both Diallo, a single mother of a teenage daughter, and Strauss-Kahn, who has found himself plagued by accusations of sexual misconduct that further sullied his reputation. The Socialist had been seen as a potential leading candidate for the French presidency before his New York arrest.
In France, judges are to decide by Dec. 19 whether to annul charges linking him to a suspected prostitution ring run out of a luxury hotel in Lille. He acknowledges attending “libertine” gatherings but denies knowing that some women present were paid.
In August, a separate case against Strauss-Kahn, centered on allegations of rape in a Washington, D.C., hotel, was dropped after French prosecutors said the accuser, an escort, changed her account to say she wasn’t raped.
Soon after Strauss-Kahn’s arrest in New York last year, French writer Tristane Banon accused him of attempting to rape her during an interview in 2003, a claim he called imaginary and slanderous. Prosecutors said they believed the encounter qualified as a sexual assault, but the legal timeframe to pursue her complaint had elapsed.
The Associated Press does not name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Diallo and Banon have done.
Strauss-Kahn has separated from his wife, journalist and heiress Anne Sinclair, who stood by him through the allegations in New York. The two said they were filing a lawsuit this summer against a French magazine, citing invasion of privacy, for reporting they had split, but Sinclair later acknowledged it was true.
The New York Timesfirst reported the agreement between Strauss-Kahn and Diallo.
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.
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