Hotel maid in Strauss-Kahn case breaks her silence
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The New York hotel maid who has accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault has spoken to the press for the first time about the events of that fateful May day, saying, "I want him to go to jail".
More than two months after the shocking news of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alleged sexual assault in a New York hotel suite grabbed headlines, the hotel maid at the centre of the case has broken her silence in her first media interviews.
Nafissatou Diallo, the 32-year-old Sofitel maid of Guinean origin, told Newsweek magazine that the former IMF chief behaved like “a crazy man” on the morning of May 14 when she entered room 2806 mistakenly believing the luxury suite was empty.
In a more than 6,000-word cover story published on Newsweek website Sunday night, Diallo said she implored the 62-year-old French politician to stop. "I said, 'Sir, stop this. I don't want to lose my job,'” a sentence she repeated frequently in the course of her interview with the US news magazine.
In her account of the events at the Sofitel on May 14, Diallo said she repeatedly implored Strauss-Kahn to stop. “I push him. I get up. I wanted to scare him. I said, 'Look, there is my supervisor right there,''' she said.
But the former IMF chief told her that there was no one who could hear her, she said, before he yanked up her uniform dress, tore down her panty hose, forcefully grabbed her crotch and then gripped her head, forcing her to perform oral sex.
Diallo was also interviewed by ABC News, giving both news organizations permission to identify her by name.
‘A salvo across the bow’
The latest interviews came as authorities are considering whether to drop charges against Strauss-Kahn amid doubts over the Guinean immigrant’s credibility. A July 18 court hearing has been postponed to Aug. 1 after Manhattan prosecutors raised doubts about inconsistencies in her account of the sequence of events on the day of the attack as well as embellishments in her US asylum application.
“This come at a very auspicious time,” said FRANCE 24’s Nathan King, reporting from New York. “This seems like a salvo across the bow a week before the court hearing to try to get her story out in the media.”
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has refused to comment on the interviews, maintaining that investigations in the case were “ongoing”.
Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn however were quick to criticize Diallo’s media interviews. “What disgusts me is an effort to pressure the prosecutors with street theatre, and that is fundamentally wrong,” Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer William Taylor told Newsweek.
But in a preview of her ABC News interview posted online, Diallo said she never wanted to go public, but she had no choice amid mounting questions about her credibility. ABC News is set to air the interview in three parts starting Monday morning.
“I have to, for myself. I have to tell the truth,'' she said.
Strauss-Kahn has been charged with seven counts including two of criminal sexual acts, one of attempted rape and one of sexual abuse.
The former IMF chief and wealthy French politician has denied the charges and has never provided his version of the events of May 14, which his lawyers have kept off the public record.
Differences between prosecutors and Diallo’s lawyers
As the case against Strauss-Kahn appeared to collapse, differences between the alleged victim’s lawyers and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office became public when Diallo’s lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, criticized prosecutors for abandoning their client and vowed to press ahead with the case.
In her interview with Newsweek, Diallo said she was determined to seek justice and did not hide her anger at Strauss-Kahn.
“Because of him they call me a prostitute,” she said referring to a New York Post report published earlier this month, over which her lawyers are suing the city tabloid. “I want him to go to jail. I want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money.”