Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser has emerged from anonymity and granted interviews to ABC and Newsweek; she is pictured and named in both. Her name is Nafissatou Diallo, she is 32, and she moved to the U.S. from Guinea in 2003. According to the Newsweek piece, she gave a three-hour-long interview in the offices of her lawyers. The ABC interview will air on Tuesday on “Nightline.” The Newsweek article contains the lengthiest and most detailed description yet of what allegedly happened at the Sofitel. It also drops a couple new bombs, like the possibility that the “Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing” quote from a phone conversation between Diallo and a friend, a conversation that did much to hamstring the prosecution’s case, could be a mistranslation or misquote.
According to the article, Diallo hopes that by going public she’ll “correct the misleading portrayal of her in the media.” The account of the interview notes that some questions were met with vague or inconsistent responses, and that Diallo’s frequent tears sometimes seemed forced. However (emphasis mine):
When Diallo reached the point of her alleged assault in the Sofitel, however, her account was vivid and compelling. As she told NEWSWEEK, she had used up a lot of time waiting for guests to check out of room 2820 before she cleaned it. Then she saw the room-service waiter taking the tray out of 2806, one of the hotel’s presidential suites. The waiter said it was empty. But still she decided to check. This is her account.
“Hello? Housekeeping.” Diallo looked around the living room. She was standing facing the bedroom in the small entrance hall when the naked man with white hair appeared.
“Oh, my God,” said Diallo. “I’m so sorry.” And she turned to leave. “You don’t have to be sorry,” he said. But he was like “a crazy man to me.” He clutched at her breasts. He slammed the door of the suite.
Diallo is about 5 feet 10, considerably taller than Strauss-Kahn, and she has a sturdy build. “You’re beautiful,” Strauss-Kahn told her, wrestling her toward the bedroom. “I said, ‘Sir, stop this. I don’t want to lose my job,'” Diallo told NEWSWEEK. “He said, ‘You’re not going to lose your job.’?” An ugly incident with a guest–any guest–could threaten everything Diallo had worked for. “I don’t look at him. I was so afraid. I didn’t expect anyone in the room.”
It goes on from there; definitely worth a read for anyone who’s following this story. It does raise a major question, though. What will going public mean for the prosecution’s case, especially when the other side has completely prevented DSK’s side of the story from reaching the public record?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 24, 2011