US & Canada

Dominique Strauss-Kahn accuser gives first interview

The New York hotel maid who accuses former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her in a hotel suite has given her first interview.

Nafissatou Diallo told Newsweek magazine that she has told the truth about the incident on 14 May.

The move comes as authorities consider whether to drop charges against him amid doubts over her credibility.

The French politician, 62, who resigned as head of the IMF to defend himself, vigorously denies all the charges.

He has said that what happened with Ms Diallo was consensual, and his lawyers have described the maid's interview as "unseemly".

Tell the truth

Ms Diallo told Newsweek magazine: "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."

Nafissatou Diallo on Good Morning America
Nafissatou Diallo insisted she was telling the truth

The 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea told the magazine that she was scared about losing her job when she eventually ran from the room where the incident allegedly took place.

Ms Diallo also told ABC News that she wants "justice" and to see the former IMF head jailed.

"God is my witness. I'm telling the truth. From my heart. God knows that. And he knows that," she said.

Asked about reports that there were doubts among prosecutors over the strength of the case, Ms Diallo acknowledged "mistakes", but said that the case should still go forward, ABC News reported.

Ms Diallo, who had previously remained out of the public eye, said she had no choice but to reveal her identity.

"Now, I have to be in public. I have to, for myself. I have to tell the truth," she said.

Ms Diallo said she had not known who Mr Strauss-Kahn was before the 14 May encounter. Once she learned his identity, she said she thought she would be killed.

'Media campaign'

Mr Strauss-Kahn's representatives accused her of conducting a "media campaign" to persuade prosecutors to pursue charges against the former IMF chief, Reuters news agency reported.

He is charged with seven counts including four more serious felony charges - two of criminal sexual acts, one of attempted rape and one of sexual abuse - plus three misdemeanour offences, including unlawful imprisonment.

But some US media reports say the case is close to collapse. Court prosecutors have said that the maid gave false testimony to a grand jury, citing inconsistencies in her account of the sequence of events on the day.

Mr Strauss-Kahn was released from house arrest on 1 July and had his $6m (£3.7m) cash bail and bond returned.

Meanwhile, French authorities are investigating allegations that Mr Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape French writer Tristane Banon a decade earlier.

Mr Strauss-Kahn denies any wrongdoing, and has launched a counter-claim, suing Ms Banon for making false statements.

Until she came forward for interview, her name had not been reported by media outlets which normally protect the identities of people who say they have been sexually assaulted.

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