Dominique Strauss-Kahn Accuser Clarifies Timeline 'Misunderstanding'

Hotel maid clarifies what happened just after the alleged attack.

July 26, 2011, 4:18 AM

July 26, 2011— -- Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who has accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in a New York City hotel room, in an exclusive interview with ABC News, has clarified what she said happened just after the alleged attack.

At the time of the alleged incident Diallo was a maid at the Sofitel Hotel in New York. Speaking with ABC News' Robin Roberts, Diallo re-enacted never-before-heard details of the alleged assault, at one point kneeling on the floor to describe how she said Strauss-Kahn forced her to perform oral sex in the midtown Manhattan hotel on May 14.

Questions have arisen surrounding what happened immediately after the alleged attack and have led the Manhattan District Attorney's office to consider whether to drop the charges amid concerns about Diallo's credibility.

On the day of the alleged attack, Diallo says she was in the hall when Strauss-Kahn left the suite. But hotel records show she briefly went into another room, and then re-entered Strauss-Kahn's suite. Diallo says the discrepancy was a misunderstanding.

Watch the full interview with DSK accuser Nafissatou Diallo

Moments after the alleged incident, according to Diallo, she went into the exterior hallway outside the room, where she says she kept spitting, and thought she was going to be sick. It was there that, she said, she saw Strauss-Kahn going to the elevator with his luggage.

"I opened there for a -- not for a second. Just to pick up my stuff. That room was already cleaned. I tell them that," she said.

Diallo has also admitted to lying on her tax returns and lying about the details of a rape in her home country of Guinea that helped her to achieve asylum in the United States -- but she says that it is irrelevant to what she says happened in Strauss-Kahn's hotel suite.

"That doesn't mean … this man tried to rape me. He tried to rape me. It's not the same thing," she said, telling Roberts that she never agreed to have sex with Strauss-Kahn. "Never. Ever. I never see him before. I see him as a naked man. I see him attacking me like that."

Tune in for a special edition of "Nightline" tonight at 11:35 ET, with new exclusive details from Robin Robert's interview with Dominique Strauss-Kahn's accuser.

After leaving the hotel suite for the second time, Daillo told her supervisor about the incident, who then had her speak with two security guards and, later, police.

The next day, Diallo said, she found out from watching a news report that Strauss-Kahn was expected to be a potential French presidential candidate, and she began to fear for her life.

"I believe that he was going to kill me," she said. "I don't know the law, what they're going to do to me. I don't know if they was going to kill me or not. I don't know, because when I see he was powerful man, I was so scared."

Watch the full interview with Diallo's attorney Ken Thompson

The New York Times also reported that a day after the alleged attack, Diallo had a phone conversation with a convicted drug dealer, who had been arrested on charges of marijuana possession. Diallo says she was unaware of the charges against her friend.

"He was my friend, and I never, ever know he was a drug dealer," Diallo told Roberts. "I used to trust him."

The unnamed source in the New York Times article also alleged that the man, among others, deposited cash into Diallo's bank account after she told him, "Don't worry. I know what I'm doing. This guy has a lot of money."

Diallo denied having ever said that. She admitted, however, that she gave the man her bank account number but claimed she didn't know about money he put in there.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office is still weighing whether to drop the charges amid "concerns" about Diallo's credibility. Specifically, prosecutors have problems with Diallo's explanation for what she did immediately after the encounter with Strauss-Kahn. They say she told them two different stories.

Diallo called the discrepancy a "misunderstanding."

She told ABC News she waited in the hallway outside the Suite 2806 where she saw Strauss-Kahn get into the elevator. After he was gone she said she went briefly into a nearby room to collect some cleaning supplies, returned briefly to Strauss-Kahn's suite and then retreated to a linen closet where her supervisor found her shaking and spitting.

When reached for comment, Vance told ABC News he couldn't comment on an ongoing investigation, but this afternoon the district attorney's office announced that Strauss-Kahn's next hearing has been postponed to Aug. 23 from Aug. 1.

It was unclear what effect, if any, the Diallo's decision to go public with her version of the alleged sexual assault may have had on the postponement.

Other legal professionals say that discrepancies in an accuser's past do not necessarily indicate that they are lying.

"Both as a former prosecutor and judge, you deal with so many witnesses who have terrible backgrounds and have lied. That doesn't mean they're not telling the truth about the incident they're testifying about. The problem, of course, is convincing a jury," former judge Leslie Crocker Snyder told ABC News.

Diallo's accusations led to a chain of events that rocked France's political world and the workings of one of the world's most prominent banking institutions. She remained unequivocal in her assertion that Strauss-Kahn attacked her.

"I want justice. I want him to go to jail," Diallo said. "I want him to know that there is some places you cannot use your money, you cannot use your power when you do something like this."

Diallo's attorney, Ken Thompson, said that in addition to the pending criminal case, he and his client will also file a civil lawsuit against Strauss-Kahn "within days."

Strauss-Kahn and defense attorneys continue to deny any wrongdoing and denied that a forced sexual encounter took place.

Defense attorney Ben Brafman said, "Our judgment, once the evidence is reviewed, will be clear that there was no element of forcible compulsion in this case."

Strauss-Kahn was released on his own recognizance from house arrest July 1 after prosecutors told a judge in a Manhattan Supreme Court that they needed to "reassess the strength of the case."

Even now, the maid says she is still afraid of Strauss-Kahn and fears for her and her 15-year-old daughter's safety.

"I never want to be in public, but I have no choice," Diallo told ABC News, adding, "Now, I have to be in public. I have to, for myself. I have to tell the truth. ... I just cannot stay hiding."

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