Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Lawyer defends Strauss-Kahn accuser

Nafissatou Diallo leaves Manhattan criminal court surrounded by a crush of photographers (AP)

The hotel maid accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sex assault has been wrongfully portrayed as a money grabbing opportunist in newspaper accounts of her recorded remarks to an incarcerated friend, her lawyer said after they reviewed the tapes during a nearly eight-hour meeting with prosecutors.

The tapes also established that housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo recounted the attack to the man during their first conversation, a day after the alleged attack - showing, her lawyer said, that her focus was on what had happened to her, not on the former International Monetary Fund leader's wealth or stature.

"Information has been put out there about Ms Diallo that now I know was false. She never was scheming to take DSK's money, and that's a fact," said her lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, referring to Strauss-Kahn by his initials.

The marathon session marked the 32-year-old's first meeting with prosecutors since they said on July 1 they had doubts about her credibility because she had not been truthful about her background or what she did right after the May 14 encounter.

Strauss-Kahn denies the charges, and his lawyers are calling for the case to be dismissed.

Ms Diallo's sit-down with prosecutors came days after she went public in interviews with Newsweek and ABC News, pressing for prosecutors to keep pursuing the case.

Prosecutors and Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said they had agreed to postpone his next court date from August 1 to August 23, when prosecutors could announce whether they will go forward with the case.

Strauss-Kahn, who had been considered a promising French presidential contender, was arrested after Ms Diallo said he forced her to perform oral sex, manhandled her and ripped down her stockings in his luxury suite at the Sofitel Hotel near Manhattan's Times Square. Traces of Strauss-Kahn's semen were found on her work uniform. He has been charged with attempted rape and other crimes.

Prosecutors have said the case has been weakened by Ms Diallo's fabrications, including a compelling story she told them of having been gang-raped in her native Guinea.

The widowed immigrant, who has a 15-year-old daughter, says she had embellished her life story to gain asylum in the US, and what prosecutors call inconsistencies in her account of her actions right after the alleged attack were the result of a misunderstanding.

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