Tuesday 19 September 2017

Strauss-Kahn accuser feels abandoned by prosecutors

Jenny Barchfield in Paris

THE hotel maid who accused former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault feels "abandoned" by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, her attorney said yesterday.

In an interview with France's RTL radio that came a day after he told 'The New York Times' he feared Mr Vance would dismiss the charges against Mr Strauss-Kahn, lawyer Kenneth Thompson said his client, Nafissatou Diallo, "is hurt, she is depressed".

"Ms Diallo feels abandoned by the Manhattan district attorney," Mr Thompson said, adding that questions about Ms Diallo's credibility as a witness have made her feel "that she's being investigated more than Strauss-Kahn".

Ms Diallo and her 15-year-old daughter "cry themselves to sleep because their lives are in shambles," he said. On Saturday, Mr Thompson said he got a letter from an assistant district attorney offering to meet with his client today -- the day before Strauss-Kahn's next scheduled court appearance -- a move he interpreted to mean that prosecutors plan to drop some, or all, of the charges.

In a separate interview that appeared yesterday in France's 'Le Journal du Dimanche' newspaper, another of Ms Diallo's attorneys, Douglas Wigdor, said "We don't have confidence in (Mr Vance's) desire to take this to court.

"I wonder about his motivations," Mr Wigdor is quoted as saying.

"If I were the district attorney, I wouldn't hesitate for a second. I know that most of the district attorneys in New York and in the country wouldn't either."

Mr Wigdor also said that the defence team's search in Europe for other women who allege they'd been victimised by Mr Strauss-Kahn had turned up "many" people.

"Some of them are willing to testify," he said.

Mr Strauss-Kahn was arrested during a May visit to New York City after a housekeeper at a Manhattan hotel told police he attacked her when she arrived to clean his suite.

Forced

The woman, Ms Diallo, told police that he forced her to perform oral sex and then left the hotel.

The arrest prompted Mr Strauss-Kahn to resign from the IMF, and disrupted his political career in France, where he was seen as a probable candidate for president. But in July prosecutors said publicly that Ms Diallo had lied to them about her personal history and some critical details of the case.

She also acknowledged lying to US immigration officials about her life in Guinea, her native country, when she applied for political asylum in 2003.

Asked whether inconsistencies in Ms Diallo's accounts of her earlier life and in her asylum application had compromised her credibility as a witness, Mr Wigdor replied, "Most victims have complicated pasts. If the new standard in American justice is to defend only those with a spotless past, they should come out and say it."

Ms Diallo has also pressed her claims in another forum by suing Mr Strauss-Kahn for damages in the civil case.

Irish Independent

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