Accuser of Strauss-Kahn Goes Public
The hotel maid who says she was sexually assaulted by former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn says she wants him to go to jail.
"I want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money," Nafissatou Diallo told Newsweek in an exclusive interview posted on the magazine's website Sunday.
Diallo, 32, tells Newsweek she broke her silence — and shed her anonymity — to correct misleading portrayals of her in the media. She says her story of the alleged assault on May 14 at New York's Sofitel Hotel has never changed.
"I tell them about what this man do to me. It never changed. I know what this man do to me," she says.
A Manhattan grand jury indicted Strauss-Kahn on seven counts last month. He allegedly assaulted Diallo and forced her to perform oral sex on him when she entered his suite thinking it was empty.
Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his attorneys, Benjamin Brafman and William Taylor, have suggested the encounter was consensual.
In a statement responding to the Newsweek interview, Brafman and Taylor accuse Diallo of launching a media campaign in order to win civil damages from their client.
"Ms. Diallo is the first accuser in history to conduct a media campaign to persuade a prosecutor to pursue charges against a person from whom she wants money," the statement says.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been weighing whether to continue pressing the case, after prosecutors said they found problems with Diallo's credibility.
In a statement to CNBC, Vance's communication director Erin Duggan declined to address the latest turn of events.
"This is a pending criminal case. To protect the integrity of the criminal justice system, the rights of the victim, and the rights of the accused, we will not discuss the facts or evidence in what remains an ongoing investigation," Duggan said.
The parties are due back in court on August 1.
A Manhattan judge freed Strauss-Kahn from house arrest on July 1 as a result of the issues, which include alleged inconsistencies in Diallo's story, and the fact that she lied on her application for asylum about being gang raped in her native Guinea.
But in the Newsweek interview, Diallo denies she changed her story about being brutally attacked by Strauss-Kahn, once the leading contender for the presidency of France.
She says Strauss-Kahn was like "a crazy man to me" when she entered Suite 2806 just after noon on May 14, only to find Strauss-Kahn in the room, naked.
"You're beautiful," she says Strauss-Kahn told her.
She says that as he wrestled her toward the bedroom, she told him, "Sir, stop this. I don't want to lose my job." But she says Strauss-Kahn assured her she would not lose her job.
"I don't look at him. I was so afraid. I didn't expect anyone in the room," Diallo told Newsweek.
"He pulls me hard to the bed. I push him. I get up. I wanted to scare him," she said. Diallo says she claimed her supervisor was nearby, but Strauss-Kahn said nobody was there, and nobody could hear them.
Diallo claims Strauss-Kahn forced himself on her, and that after he was finished she ran from the room, spitting.
She says she hid in a hallway until she saw Strauss-Kahn leave, and it is that part of her account that has raised questions with prosecutors. They say Diallo changed her story at one point to admit she cleaned another room before contacting her supervisors.
But Diallo denies changing her story, and as CNBC reported July 13, hotel key card records appear to confirm her account of hiding in a hallway until Strauss-Kahn left and a supervisor discovered her moments later.
As for Diallo's asylum application, Newsweek says she admits the account of gang rape was "heavily embellished" in order to gain her U.S. green card.
Prosecutors also reportedly have Diallo on tape speaking with a friend who is an inmate at a federal immigration detention facility in Arizona, discussing the potential money to be made by accusing Strauss-Kahn of assault. But her attorneys have insisted the conversation was inaccurately translated, and Diallo says she is not interested in Strauss-Kahn's money.
"We are poor, but we are good," she told Newsweek. "I don't think about money."