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Strauss-Kahn maid breaks her silence over hotel assault


ABC's Robin Roberts, right, talks to Nafissatou Diallo, the alleged victim in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn assault case (AP)

ABC's Robin Roberts, right, talks to Nafissatou Diallo, the alleged victim in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn assault case (AP)

ABC's Robin Roberts, right, talks to Nafissatou Diallo, the alleged victim in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn assault case (AP)

The Manhattan hotel maid who accuses Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault has renounced her right to anonymity and alleged in detail how he attacked after telling her: "You're beautiful".

Nafissatou Diallo, for 10 weeks the unnamed woman at the centre of the world's highest-profile court case, today mounts a public fightback against attempts to dismiss her allegations and tarnish her name.

The case against Mr Strauss-Kahn is thought to be hanging by a thread, after New York prosecutors disclosed that the maid had lied on several occasions and had financial links to a criminal.

But Miss Diallo, known as "Nafi", today restates her allegations and says: "I want him to go to jail. I want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money."

The 32-year-old Guinean insists that the former International Monetary Fund chief violently groped her, forced her to perform oral sex, and reassured her: "You're not going to lose your job".

In her first two media interviews, she describes entering Mr Strauss-Kahn's suite at the Sofitel on May 14 after allegedly receiving no answer to her call: "Hello? Housekeeping?"

The maid, who was paid $25 an hour plus tips for cleaning 14 rooms a day, was met by the leading Socialist, who was then a likely French presidential contender, in the nude.

"Oh my God," she told Newsweek magazine she had said. "I'm so sorry". She alleges that she turned to leave, but Mr Strauss-Kahn replied: "You don't have to be sorry," before turning into a "crazy man". He allegedly slammed the door, grabbed her and said: "You're beautiful".

Miss Diallo claims she said: "Sir, stop this. I don't want to lose my job," but was told: "You're not going to lose your job".

"He pulls me hard to the bed," she told the magazine. "I push him. I get up. I wanted to scare him. I said, 'Look, there is my supervisor right there.'?"

Mr Strauss-Kahn, however, allegedly said that no one was outside and that no one would hear. He allegedly hoisted up her dress and tore her tights.

Following the alleged assault, she ran out to the hallway where she cowered, before meeting eyes with Mr Strauss-Kahn as he exited for the lift. He tipped back his head and "said nothing", she said. She was later found by her supervisor.

Police were called to the hotel. Mr Strauss-Kahn called to report a missing mobile phone and disclosed he was heading to JFK airport. Detectives arrested him on a flight for Paris waiting on the tarmac.

Miss Diallo attempted to address concerns raised by prosecutors that contrary to her original account, she now admits she went into the next-door room and continued cleaning after the alleged attack.

She indicated she had sought comfort in continuing her routine. "I was so, so, so – I don't know what to do," she told the magazine.

She also sought to dismiss reports she told a boyfriend imprisoned in Arizona for drug offences, named as Amara Tarawally, "Don't worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I'm doing" in a phone call.

Miss Diallo claimed she had given him use of her bank account and that cash deposits he placed in it were not for her. "He was my friend," she told the magazine. "I used to trust him."

In addition to the Newsweek interview she has recorded an appearance with ABC News, which will be broadcast today and tomorrow.

Fresh questions may be raised by Miss Diallo's new account of what Mr Strauss-Kahn told her during the alleged attack. She told hospital staff that he had remained silent throughout.

Miss Diallo, who can not read or write in any language, admits that on her 2003 application for asylum in the US she exaggerated an account of being gang raped, but insists she was raped by soldiers.

Lawyers for Mr Strauss-Kahn said the woman was trying to whip up public opinion.

"This conduct by lawyers is unprofessional and it violates fundamental rules of professional conduct for lawyers," Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said in a statement.

"Its obvious purpose is to inflame public opinion against a defendant in a pending criminal case."

Mr Strauss-Kahn is charged with seven counts, all of which he denies. He is due back in court on August 1.