NEW YORK (AP) — People familiar with the matter say prosecutors are exploring whether a lawyer for the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault discussed the possibility of a financial settlement and suggested she could back away from the criminal case. Her lawyer sternly denies it.

The people spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing inquiry. It was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The people said prosecutors were looking into whether the maid’s lawyers and Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys talked about a potential deal after prosecutors began developing doubts about her credibility.

The accuser’s lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, says the allegation is “absolutely false” and “a baseless attack.”

The district attorney’s office and Strauss-Kahn lawyer Benjamin Brafman declined to comment.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.