It’s never been clear what kind of fees, if any, the attorneys who represented the woman accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in a New York hotel room last year collected. It must not be much so far, as Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, an immigrant hotel maid from the Bronx, isn’t exactly a member of the one percent. But Monday’s announcement from one of her attorneys, Kenneth Thompson, that he plans to challenge Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes in 2013, shows there are other ways to make a case pay.
Thompson, a former federal prosecutor, was moderately well-known for helping convict the cop who tortured Abner Louima before he and his partner, Douglas Wigdor, took on Diallo’s case. But he wasn’t making the kind of international headlines he grabbed once he started representing Diallo. The housekeeper’s criminal accusation against Strauss-Kahn went nowhere when Manhattan prosecutors dropped the charges, but she’s still pursuing a lawsuit against the former IMF chief, and he’s filed a $1 million countersuit against her.
Thompson caught criticism for bringing the civil suit before the criminal case against Strauss-Kahn had wrapped up, but as Capital New York’s Reid Pillifant pointed out when rumors of his DA run first surfaced, “his outspoken advocacy on behalf of the accuser, an immigrant from Guinea, could play well in parts of the borough.” Thompson told the New York Times his goal in entering the race was to “get the guns off the streets in Brooklyn,” but he wouldn’t say how he would change the district attorney’s office once there. “I don’t really want to talk about DA Hynes,” he told the Times’ Mosi Secret. “I am willing to talk about me.”