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Hotel Housekeeper Tells Magazine of Her Encounter With Strauss-Kahn

(Audio available further in this article)

The housekeeper at the Sofitel hotel who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault has given a long and tearful interview, with her full name and picture attached, that provides her detailed account of the May encounter — including that Mr. Strauss-Kahn told her “You’re beautiful” as he attacked her.



(To listen to this article, click on the player below)


In the interview, with Newsweek magazine, the housekeeper, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea named Nafissatou Diallo, said she had apologized and turned to leave when she realized that Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s room was not empty.

“Oh, my God,” Ms. Diallo recounted saying as she caught sight of a naked man — Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who was then the managing director of the International Monetary Fund — in the 28th-floor suite she had entered intending to clean. “I’m so sorry.”

Mr. Strauss-Kahn responded, “You don’t have to be sorry,” and reached for her breasts, she told Newsweek.

“You’re beautiful,” Mr. Strauss-Kahn said as he compelled her toward the bedroom, Ms. Diallo recounted to Newsweek, which also refers to her as “Nafi.” She said she told him to stop, saying: “Sir, stop this. I don’t want to lose my job.”

Much of the woman’s account tracks news reports about what she told the authorities about the encounter. Her allegations led to an indictment against Mr. Strauss-Kahn on charges including attempted rape. But some details are new, like her account of their dialogue and her account of her movements around the hotel immediately afterward. But they can be contradictory: She told counselors at the hospital right after the attack, for example, that Mr. Strauss-Kahn had not spoken at all.

Her interview marks the first time either person who was present in the room has publicly provided a narrative of what occurred there. Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers have suggested that any sexual encounter was consensual. Her interview with Newsweek and a second one with ABC News, scheduled to be broadcast on Monday and Tuesday, appear intended to put pressure on the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., to prosecute the case.

“I want him to go to jail,” Ms. Diallo told Newsweek. “I want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money.”

In response to the Newsweek article, Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers said Ms. Diallo was “the first accuser in history to conduct a media campaign to persuade a prosecutor to pursue charges against a person from whom she wants money.”

Both Newsweek and ABC published pictures of her, and the Newsweek story describes her physically — “her dark hair is hennaed, straightened, and worn flat to her head,” for example.

Newsweek characterized Ms. Diallo’s account of the encounter as “vivid and compelling,” but said that at other points during the interview, which lasted more than three hours, she was less forthright. Questions about her past in Africa “were met with vague responses.” At times, her tears struck the interviewers as “forced,” according to Newsweek. The article also said that she is illiterate, unable to read or write any language. She spoke proudly of her job at the New York Sofitel, where according to the magazine she made $25 an hour plus tips.

Although Mr. Strauss-Kahn remains under indictment, prosecutors have expressed concerns about the accuser’s credibility as a witness, saying that she had admitted lying in her application for asylum from Guinea. They also say she entered false information on tax returns and misrepresented her income to qualify for her housing.

Ms. Diallo described Mr. Strauss-Kahn as physically forceful, saying he behaved like “a crazy man to me.” Once in his bedroom, “he pulls me hard to the bed,” she told Newsweek. He tried to force her to engage in oral sex, she said.

The woman, who is taller than Mr. Strauss-Kahn, said she kept pushing him off, but she added that she did not “want to hurt him” for fear of losing her job. Mr. Strauss-Kahn shoved her to the bathroom, she said, forced her to her knees and made her engage in oral sex, holding her head “so hard” between his hands. At the end of the encounter, she said, she ran out and sought refuge in the hallway.

“I was standing there spitting,” she told Newsweek. “I was so alone.” She exchanged looks but not words with Mr. Strauss-Kahn as he left his suite and headed to the elevator, she said.

She also sought to explain her movements after the encounter, which prosecutors have questioned. She recounted how she went to a nearby room to retrieve her cleaning supplies and then re-entered Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite to begin cleaning it. “I went to the room I have to clean,” she said. She reported the encounter to a supervisor.

The whole encounter may have lasted just nine minutes. Citing an anonymous source, Newsweek reported that nine minutes after Ms. Diallo first entered Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite, he placed a call to his daughter, whom he then met for lunch.
Source: New York Times

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