Strauss-Kahn Accuser: 'I want Justice. I want him to go to jail'

Jul 25, 2011

After remaining silent for more than two months, the New York maid who claims she was attacked by former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn has come forward to tell her side of the story.

In interviews to Newsweek and ABC News Nafissatou Diallo said she wants Strauss-Kahn to go to jail.

"I want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money," she told Newsweek.

Over the past few weeks, the case against Strauss-Kahn has weakened. So much so that on July 1, Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest on his own recognizance. The release followed a piece by The New York Times that said Diallo, who is Guinean, had lied to prosecutors and on her asylum application. The piece also quoted Diallo on a phone call with an incarcerated man, telling him about the incident with Strauss-Kahn and discussing the "the possible benefits of pursuing the charges against him."

Diallo said that's one of the reasons she's speaking out.

"Because of him, they call me a prostitute," Diallo said. "I want him to go to jail."

Diallo was emphatic that she was telling the truth. "God is my witness I'm telling the truth," she told ABC News. "From my heart. God Knows that. And he knows that."

Diallo also stood by her version of events. She said she walked into room 2806 at the Sofitel Hotel and found Strauss-Kahn naked. She shielded her eyes and said sorry. That's when, she said, he grabbed her breasts and told her, "You don't have to be sorry."

She said she was scared of losing her job. She had no idea who Strauss-Kahn was until she saw a TV report that described him as the potential next president of France.

"I was so afraid," Diallo told ABC's Robin Roberts. "I said they're going to kill me... I'm going to die. I know if I was in my country, he's a powerful man like that, they're going to kill me before someone knows what happened to me."

Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn blasted Diallo's comments. The AP reports they said the interviews were "'an unseemly circus' designed to inflame public opinion."

In its interview with Diallo, Newsweek reports that it has learned that The New York Times report about the jailhouse phone call wasn't completely accurate and that "hospital records support many aspects of Diallo's account of the alleged attack."

As for the bigger picture, the AP spoke to legal experts who said granting interviews at this stage in the criminal investigation is a "risky move:"

It gives her an empowering chance to tell her side of the story as prosecutors weigh whether to press ahead with the case amid their concerns about her credibility. But it also enshrines a version of events that defense lawyers could mine for discrepancies with her grand jury testimony or use as fodder to argue she was seeking money or public attention.

Whatever the outcome, "it's an extraordinary turn of events, I would say, for her to go on a kind of lobbying, public relations campaign to get this case tried," said Pace Law School professor and former prosecutor Bennett L. Gershman.

ABC has aired a part of the interview on Good Morning America — the video is below — but it will continue airing parts of it on tonight's World News with Diane Sawyer and Tuesday on Nightline. The Newsweek interview is on newsstands today.

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