Nafissatou Diallo, the maid who has accused Dominque Strauss-Kahn of assaulting her in a Manhattan hotel room, has given her first interviews to Newsweek and ABC. As Sarah Anne Highes reported:
Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who has accused Dominque Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, is speaking publicly about the case to Newsweek and ABC’s Robin Roberts, a risky move, according to legal experts.
Diallo alleges that she entered the suite of the former head of the IMF May 14, to find Strauss-Kahn naked. After apologizing, Diallo alleges that he grabbed her breasts. “I said, ‘Sir, stop this. I don’t want to lose my job,’ ” Diallo told Newsweek. “He said, ‘You’re not going to lose your job.’ ”
Diallo alleges that Strauss-Kahn tried to force his penis into her mouth, but she resisted and told him that her supervisor was nearby. She said he eventually forced her to her knees and made her perform oral sex.
“I was spitting,” Diallo said of the moments after the alleged assault. “I run. I run out of there. I don’t turn back. I run to the hallway. I was so nervous; I was so scared. I didn’t want to lose my job.” Diallo said she then resumed her cleaning duties, and was later found by her supervisor “shaken and upset” in the hallway, according to Newsweek.
Strauss-Kahn was arrested, charged with sexual assault and placed under house arrestin May. His attorney said the encounter was consensual. In early July, he was releasedwithout bail after prosecutors said they found inconsistencies in Diallo’s story.
Legal experts say that by speaking out now Diallo is taking an unusually risky move for an accuser in a criminal case. As AP explained:
The hotel housekeeper accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her is telling her story publicly, she says, because she wants the former International Monetary Fund leader behind bars. But it’s hard to say whether her striking move will help or hobble her goal.
Nafissatou Diallo’s decision to speak out in media interviews is an unusual and risky move for an accuser at this point in a criminal case, legal experts said.
It gives her an empowering chance to tell her side of the story as prosecutors weigh whether to press ahead with the case amid their concerns about her credibility. But it also enshrines a version of events that defense lawyers could mine for discrepancies with her grand jury testimony or use as fodder to argue she was seeking money or public attention.
Whatever the outcome, “it’s an extraordinary turn of events, I would say, for her to go on a kind of lobbying, public relations campaign to get this case tried,” said Pace Law School professor and former prosecutor Bennett L. Gershman.
Defense attorneys for Strauss-Kahn reacted strongly to the interview and the version of events put forward by Diallo. As AP reported:
Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn are blasting back after the first public comments from the hotel maid accusing him of sexual assault.
“I want him to go to jail,” Nafissatou Diallo told Newsweek in a cover story posted online Sunday. ABC News says it will broadcast an interview with her on three of its programs on Monday. In the interviews, she gives new details about the alleged attack in a Midtown hotel room.
Lawyers for the former International Monetary Fund chief say Diallo is looking for money and call the interviews “an unseemly circus” designed to inflame public opinion.
The case against Strauss-Kahn is in limbo after prosecutors raised doubts about the maid’s credibility.
Her lawyers call the defense’s conduct “an unprecedented smear campaign against the victim of a sexual attack.”
More from The Washington Post