Hotel maid speaks out, seeks jail for Strauss-Kahn
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Last Updated: Monday, July 25, 2011, 15:14
  
New York: The New York hotel maid who accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her said in an interview published on Newsweek's website on Sunday that he appeared as a "crazy man" and attacked her when she entered his room.

Nafissatou Diallo also gave the newsmagazine and ABC News permission to identify her by name.

The magazine interview marks the first time the 32-year-old Guinean immigrant to the United States has publicly spoken to the media since she shocked the world with allegations that Strauss-Kahn emerged naked from the bathroom of his luxury suite on May 14 and forced her to perform oral sex.

ABC News on Sunday also announced it would broadcast an interview with Diallo on Monday morning.

"I want justice. I want him to go to jail," she said in excerpts from the television interview released on Sunday.

"I want him to know that there is some places you cannot use your money, you cannot use your power when you do something like this," Diallo said.

One of Diallo's attorneys, Douglas Wigdor, said she has come forward to let the world know she is not a "shakedown artist or a prostitute”.

"She's being attacked ... and she thought it was important to put a name and face to her account," Wigdor said.

She also plans to file a civil lawsuit soon, which means her name would become public, he added.

ABC reported Diallo also acknowledged "mistakes" but said that should not stop prosecutors from going forward.

"I never want to be in public but I have no choice," she told ABC News, adding "Now, I have to be in public. I have to, for myself. I have to tell the truth."

Diallo, who Newsweek said had agreed to be photographed for next week's edition, said she saw Strauss-Kahn appear naked in front of her when she opened the door to his suite. He was like "a crazy man to me”, she said.

"You're beautiful," she reported Strauss-Kahn as saying, and said he attacked her despite her protestations.

Denies all charges

Strauss-Kahn, 62, has repeatedly denied all the charges against him. In a statement on Sunday, his lawyers called the interview a last-ditch effort by the maid and her lawyers to extract money from the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

She 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," lawyers Benjamin Brafman and William Taylor said.

"Her lawyers and public relations consultants have orchestrated an unprecedented number of media events and rallies to bring pressure on the prosecutors in this case after she had to admit her extraordinary efforts to mislead them."

Her credibility was thrown into question when Manhattan prosecutors revealed Diallo told authorities numerous lies, including fabricating a story about being gang-raped in Guinea in order to gain US asylum. She also changed details of her story about what happened following the purported assault.

Wigdor said Diallo has worried that prosecutors would drop the charges. "That has been a concern, but we're all hopeful that the district attorney's going to do the right thing," he said.

A spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had no comment on the interviews, saying: "We will not discuss the facts or evidence in what remains an ongoing investigation."

Fled after rape

After arriving from Guinea in 2003, Diallo, who is illiterate, told Newsweek she spent years braiding hair before working at a bodega in New York City's Bronx borough. As a maid at the Sofitel hotel, she received USD 25 an hour plus tips.

Diallo said her husband in Guinea died of an illness but did not provide further details. Roughly two years after being raped by two soldiers in Conakry, the Guinean capital, she fled with her daughter, now 15, to the United States, where she said she has few close friends.

Following the alleged attack, Diallo spent weeks in protective custody, holed up in a hotel with her daughter.

"She's been in seclusion for over two months. She hasn't been able to take a walk in the park," her lawyer said.

French newspaper France Soir reported in a front page headline that David Koubbi, the lawyer for French writer Tristane Banon, who has accused Strauss-Kahn of a 2003 sexual assault, had met with Diallo. It added only that he "was impressed by her courage”.

Bureau Report


First Published: Monday, July 25, 2011, 08:34


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