Nafissatou Diallo, accuser of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, takes story to ABC News
By Lisa de Moraes,
The hotel maid who has accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in a Manhattan hotel room took herself and her version of the story into the bright spotlight of national TV on Monday — on ABC News’s morning infotainment show, “Good Morning America.”
“I want justice. I want him to go to jail,” Nafissatou Diallo told ABC’s Robin Roberts. “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.”
The guts of the Big Get aired Monday on “Nightline,” but a chunk of the chat with Roberts aired Monday morning during “GMA.”
That teaser for Monday night’s interview included a bit in which Diallo reenacted moments of the alleged assault:
“I turned my head. He comes to me and grab my breasts. I said, ‘Stop! Stop! I don’t want to lose my job!’ ”
The Diallo interview comes less than a month after ABC News reported that the case might be crumbling after Manhattan district attorney investigators uncovered “significant issues” with Diallo’s account of what happened in that hotel room.
Those issues included the discovery that she had a phone conversation with an incarcerated man within a day of her encounter with the IMF chief, in which she discussed the possible financial upside of pursuing charges against him, ABC News reported.
“The holes in the credibility of the housekeeper led prosecutors to doubt much of what the accuser has told them about the circumstances of the case or about herself, ABC News has confirmed,” the network reported in late June.
Those holes also include “possible links to criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.”
On Monday, ABC News reported that it asked Diallo about the instances that caused prosecutors to “reassess the strength of the case,” and said that Diallo acknowledged “mistakes” but insisted she was telling the truth about Strauss-Kahn.
“God is my witness I’m telling the truth. From my heart. God knows that. And he knows that,” she was seen telling Roberts.
She insisted that when she learned who Strauss-Kahn was, her first thought was that she would be killed:
“And then they say he’s going to be the next president of France. And I say, ‘Oh, my God!’ And I was crying. I said, ‘They’re gonna kill me!’ ”
In a statement, Strauss-Kahn’s defense attorneys called Diallo’s interview an “unseemly circus,” ABC News reported Monday.
“Its obvious purpose is to inflame public opinion against a defendant in a pending criminal case,” William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman wrote in a statement, as reported by ABC News.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office, meanwhile, declined to give ABC News a comment about its Big Get. Spokeswoman Erin Duggan said to the news organization, “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.”
Discovery’s into whales
Discovery Communications may be okay with former prostitutes pimping their parrots, but it puts its foot down when it comes to Danes slaughtering their pilot whales like cattle.
The Silver Spring-based company’s Animal Planet network announced Monday that it has ordered a spinoff of its “Whale Wars” reality docu-series, in which some of the same folks from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will fight in the Faroe Islands against the traditional, annual pilot-whale roundup.
(Word of the whale project comes days after Discovery’s TLC network announced it had struck a deal with Heidi Fleiss to air a one-hour special — a.k.a. “backdoor pilot” — about her life with the more than 20 macaw parrots living in her house, called “Heidi Fleiss: Prostitutes to Parrots.”)
“The Faroe Islands Project” — as the spinoff is being called until someone comes up with something zippier — will follow the Sea Shepherd Society in its campaign to stop the annual pilot whale kill — known, in translation, as “The Grind” — in the Danish Protectorate of the Faroe Islands.
According to Animal Planet, whaling in the Faroe Islands has been practiced since about the time of the first Norse settlements on the islands, and it is regulated by Faroese authorities on a community level. Each year, hundreds of long-finned pilot whales are corralled into shallow coves and killed by men living in the Faroes.
“Operation Ferocious Isles” is the first time in 10 years that the Sea Shepherds — who like to think of themselves as a “direct-action environmental brigade” — have actively intervened in the Danish territory.
The spinoff will feature some “Whale Wars” regulars: Capt. Paul Watson, Peter Hammarstedt, Chris Aultman and Chad Halstead. Also featured: fan fave vessels the Steve Irwin and the Brigitte Bardot — known as the Gojira until it was renamed for the French fashion model turned actress turned animal rights activist.
Already, the Sea Shepherds have run into trouble on their new campaign, Animal Planet reported Monday. The Steve Irwin has been seized by a British court en route to the nearby Shetland Islands over a conflict with a Maltese bluefin tuna fisherman.
●As Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” gets ready to wrap Season 7 — a.k.a. The First Season After the TV-Time Death of Beloved Capt. Phil Harris — the premieres of its episodes are averaging about 4.2 million viewers, down about 21 percent compared with the last, overwrought season.
In last week’s penultimate episode, the show’s Capt. Keith Colburn, winner of this season’s Saltiest Vocabulary Competition, engaged in a juicily worded physical scuffle with one of the show’s cameramen when the silly cameraman called the captain on the ship’s phone to try to find the show producer.
You know how it is when a cameraman interrupts you as you’re doing your close-up, in which you are delivering a humdinger of a soliloquy about, well, yourself. Anyway, tempers flew — and so did the cameraman when Cussin’ Captain Colburn started shoving him around!