Thursday 19 April 2018

Why me, asks DSK sex-claim maid

Accuser in bid to avert charges being dropped

Nafissatou Diallo leaves Manhattan Criminal Court amid
a sea of photographers. Photo: PA
Nafissatou Diallo leaves Manhattan Criminal Court amid a sea of photographers. Photo: PA

David Usborne in New York

The chamber maid who has accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault in a hotel room in May used her first press conference yesterday to press her case against the former IMF director and to express her anguish at her circumstances.

Speaking in broken English in a Brooklyn church hall crammed with reporters, the housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, offered her thanks to everyone who has been supporting her in the case and said she had decided to face the media because of "bad things" that have been said about her, which she claims are false."I say, God, why me, why me," Ms Diallo said.

Earlier this week, Ms Diallo, who is originally from Guinea in west Africa, spent nearly eight hours talking to prosecutors about the case against Mr Strauss-Kahn, accompanied by her lead lawyer, Kenneth Thompson.

Her camp appears to be scrambling to avert a decision by the Manhattan District Attorney to drop the seven charges filed against Mr Strauss-Kahn.

Doubts were cast on Ms Diallo's assertions after the DA's office acknowledged they had found some inconsistencies in her story. There were also reports at the time that she had said in phone conversations with a male acquaintance, who is in prison, that she recognised Mr Strauss-Kahn was powerful and wealthy and that she might stand to make some financial gain from the claims.

But Mr Thompson has this week come out and told media outlets that he has tapes of those conversations made in the days after the attack showing his client had been misquoted.

Consistent

Instead, he says, the tapes demonstrate that when the man implied there might be financial mileage in her position, Ms Diallo dismissed the notion. The tapes include descriptions of the assault, he said, that were consistent with what she told prosecutors.

If the Diallo camp can restore some of its lost credibility, the outlook for Mr Strauss-Kahn could darken again. After the initial problems with her claims first came to light, he was released on bail amid hopes on his side that the entire case might be dropped. He is not due to be in court for another three weeks.

"We cry every day, we can't sleep," Ms Diallo said, referring to herself and her daughter, adding that "a lot of bad things" have been said about her in recent weeks.

"That's why I have to be here to let people know a lot of things people say about (me) is not true," she said.

She said she was meeting reporters for her daughter, and stated she had promised her: "I am going to be strong for you and for every other woman."

Irish Independent

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