Strauss-Kahn Accuser’s Words “Misrepresented” in Leaks to Media

Nafissatou Diallo

Just a short time ago, the woman who accused former IMF head Dominque Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her spoke briefly at press conference at a Brooklyn church.

“I’m here because I had people call me a lot of bad names,” Ms. Diallo said softly at the Christian Cultural Center on Flatlands Avenue. “A lot of things they said about me was not true.”

Before being introduced by Rev. A.R. Bernard, senior pastor at the center, Ms. Diallo, 32, dressed in a dark suit, rubbed her fingers together slowly, blinking often as she gazed out the windows of the lobby, past the bank of cameras and reporters.
“Me and my family, we are going through a lot,” she said. “We cry every day.”

She spoke for less than five minutes and was escorted from the podium when she finished without taking any questions; her lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, and other supporters remained at the microphone and spoke with reporters.

Diallo’s attorney says that the Manhattan DA’s office either mistranslated or deliberately misinterpreted taped conversations she had with an Arizona prison inmate.

Ms. Diallo and her lead lawyer, Kenneth P. Thompson, spent much of Wednesday at the district attorney’s office in Manhattan, where they listened to a recording of conversations Ms. Diallo had with a fellow African immigrant in an Arizona jail after she said she was attacked. Law enforcement officials told Mr. Thompson and The New York Times last month that Ms. Diallo could be heard saying on the tape “words to the effect of: ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing.’ ”

But after listening to the recording on Wednesday, Mr. Thompson told reporters at a news conference that Ms. Diallo’s statements had been mischaracterized. He said that at no point did she raise the issue of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s wealth or status in the way that prosecutors had described it. Rather, he said, the man she was speaking with, who initiated the calls to Ms. Diallo, remarked during one conversation that Ms. Diallo could stand to gain money from the case, but she quickly dismissed the idea and said it was a matter for her lawyer.

Thompson also noted that in the first phone call, Diallo’s description of what happened with Strauss-Kahn was

consistent with what she told investigators a day earlier. In sexual-assault cases, people who hear an early account of an attack are called “outcry witnesses,” and are often used to buttress the credibility of a person making an accusation.

“She told the guy that someone tried to rape her at her job,” Mr. Thompson said in an interview after his news conference. “She said: ‘I didn’t know who he was. We fought each other. Because he wasn’t able to take off my clothes, he put his penis in my mouth. He touched me. They took me to the hospital, and they arrested him.’ ”

The DA’s office said they could not comment on evidence in an ongoing investigation. But didn’t they already have quite a bit to say? Someone leaked negative information about Diallo to the media, resulting in Strauss-Kahn being released on bail while his accuser was treated like a liar and money-grubber. From CNN Justice:

The hotel maid who has accused the then-head of the International Monetary Fund of sexually assaulting her met Wednesday with prosecutors for at least seven hours….

Prior meetings between the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, and prosecutors who are deciding whether to pursue charges against French financier Dominique Strauss-Kahn ended abruptly last month after Thompson accused Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance of “abandoning” her.

Prosecutors had disclosed credibility issues with Diallo, who is from Guinea.

[….]

Diallo’s attorney said the Sofitel New York employee wants to tell a jury what happened to her. “I want justice. I want him to go to jail,” Diallo told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview that aired this week.

I give Diallo a lot of credit for coming forward publicly and revealing her identity. I hope Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance will let her have her day in court.


10 Comments on “Strauss-Kahn Accuser’s Words “Misrepresented” in Leaks to Media”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    “I’ve been asking, God, why me?” — Diallo

    “I don’t want this to happen to any other women…this is too much for me and my daughter.”

    Video of her statement:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/diallo-ive-been-asking-god-why-me/2011/07/28/gIQABUEKfI_video.html

  2. Gregory says:

    This Strauss guy has undoubtedly victimized lots and lots of women and has gotten away with it because he attacks the powerless. Hotel maids are about as powerless as you can get. All you have to do is say they were soliciting and not only do you not get in trouble they get fired as a result of your behavior. Now, I don’t know the full story on this thing but the character assassination of the witness is very troubling. The leaks (contrived and phony?) and the prostitution allegation have obviously discredited her in the eyes of the public. I doubt this goes to trial and honestly she is going to be the one who pays through the nose. I think she’ll be lucky to just be deported. This whole blame the victim crap has gotten very, very old.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t think she’ll be deported now that she has come out and it’s so high profile. She will sue Strauss-Kahn in civil court if she doesn’t get a trial.

  3. Branjor says:

    I hope she gets a trial, and if not, that she sues Strauss-Kahn in civil court for enough to really hurt. Her account of the rape seems very credible to me and this business of not only powerful men like DSK, but many less powerful men too, getting away with rape, has just got to stop.

    Just a side note – she has the same last name as Amadou Diallo, the West African immigrant who was shot and killed by NYC cops some years back while reaching for his wallet to identify himself with.

  4. Branjor says:

    What happened? The name Amadou Diallo was supposed to have appeared as a link.

  5. mjames says:

    Sorry, this is not justice. Trying one’s case in public is not only morally repugnant, it deprives a defendant of a fair trial. One of the bedrocks of our criminal justice system: the right to a fair trial. Read up on the Sheppard Supreme Court case. Pretrial publicity sunk the case, because the publicity was so prejudicial.

    This lawyer sounds like he is fixing to get a pretrial settlement in a civil case. So he can make money off this woman. He’s using her. Of course, if the criminal case doesn’t go forward, she won’t have success in a civil trial, because she was not credible enough to be a complaining witness. In addition, all of these public statements she’s making and interviews she’s giving simply supply the opposition with a wealth of impeachment material. It’s foolish beyond belief. I don’t know if this lawyer is violating any ethical rule, but he knows better. This is desperation, pure and simple.

    Lie to me once, you lose all credibility. Lie in the grand jury, as she did, under oath, she has zero credibility. Which is to say nothing about DSK. He sounds like a revolting lech. However, all that other stuff about him would be inadmissible in this criminal case. Most likely, this case wouldn’t survive a motion to dismiss at the end of the prosecutor’s case in chief.

    • bostonboomer says:

      The DA already destroyed her credibility by releasing false information about her to the media. She had no credibility to lose. She was probably afraid of being deported. I seriously doubt if Strauss-Kahn will be tried.

      What did she lie about in the grand jury? You obviously know much more about this than I do. I thought it was over after the DA thew the woman to the wolves.

      • bostonboomer says:

        After what happened with the rapist cops recently, I’d think that any rape victim in NY should be leery of trusting law enforcement officials–especially if the perpetrator is in a position of power/authority.

      • northwestrain says:

        This woman was deliberately smeared by the prosecutor — that’s the person who should go to jail. I’m tired of prosecutors lying and getting away with their lies and withholding of evidence.

        When it comes to rape — this case is just one example why women don NOT report rape. And from the research we know that most rapists are serial rapists. And then from the Newsweek report on JOHNS that a whole lot of males are into sadism.

        I’m amazed that any woman reports rape — she is going to be raped psychologically again and again by the patriarchy.

        All cops lie — not all the time but often enough to make anything they say unreliable. All prosecutors lie — and I’m not sure these bastards ever tell the truth.