Dominique Strauss-Kahn (L), seen here at an arraignment trial, denies allegations of attempted rape [GALLO/GETTY]

Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape, has filed a civil lawsuit against the former International Monetary Fund chief for launching a "violent and sadistic attack" against her in his New York hotel suite in May.

Diallo repeated the version of events she previously told the media: a naked Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom in his $3,000-a-night suite at the Sofitel Hotel on May 14 and forced her to perform oral sex, in the suit filed in the Bronx on Monday.

"Believing he was immune from the laws of this country, defendant Strauss-Kahn intentionally, brutally and violently sexually assaulted Ms. Diallo and in the process humiliated, degraded and violated and robbed Ms. Diallo of her dignity as a woman," the complaint said.

The lawsuit follows criminal charges against the French politician but does not specific damages. It pledges to provide evidence of Strauss-Kahn having harassed and assaulted other women in the past.

Kenneth Thompson, Diallo's attorney, says the assault "left Ms. Diallo's life and her young daughter's life in shambles." It alleges physical, emotional and psychological injuries and seeks compensatory and punitive damages, along with attorneys' fees.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers called Diallo's lawsuit "meritless", reinforcing that the 32-year-old hotel maid's credibility has always been questionable.

"We have maintained from the beginning that the motivation of Mr. Thompson and his client was to make money," William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, said in their statement on Monday.

"The filing of this lawsuit ends any doubt on that question. The civil suit has no merit and Mr. Strauss-Kahn will defend it vigorously."

Sixty-two-year-old Strauss-Kahn, who is more popularly known as "DSK", has denied the allegations.

Fight for credibility

Diallo's lawyers have said for weeks that she would bring a civil case against Strauss-Kahn.

The criminal case against the once-leading contender for the French presidence, has wavered for weeks, since prosecutors revealed Diallo lied about her past and her actions immediately after the incident.

With Diallo's credibility in doubt, prosecutors are still investigating the criminal case as they decide whether to press ahead with charges or drop the case.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the civil case. Strauss-Kahn's next criminal court date is Aug. 23.

In July, Diallo, the 32-year-old Guinean immigrant, broke her silence and revealed her identity in interviews to Newsweek and ABC News, unlike many rape accusers.

Her lawyer said she came forward to defend her reputation, particularly after the New York Post reported she had worked as a prostitute. She has filed a lawsuit against the newspaper for libel.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have called on Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney, to dismiss the case, while women's and immigrant advocates have urged him to press forward.

Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest after the revelations about Diallo's credibility but is barred from leaving the US.

Source: Agencies