Strauss-Kahn Accuser Nafissatou Diallo Says She “Cries Every Day”

In a very unusual news conference on Thursday, Nafissatou Diallo told reporters that she cannot stop crying and that she wants no other woman to suffer like her — first at the hands of a powerful attacker and then through media muckraking.

Nafissatou Diallo, an African immigrant, accused the French-born politician of trying to rape her and forcing her to have oral sex when she arrived to clean his suite at the Sofitel hotel on May 14th. Photo: André Gunthert/Flickr

“I am going through a lot. My daughter, we are going through a lot. We are crying everyday. We can’t sleep,” an emotional and tearful Diallo said in broken English. “A lot of things they say about me are not true.”

Speaking in public for the first time, Miss Diallo, 32, said that her life had been wrecked by the 62-year-old French socialist, who allegedly tried to rape her when she arrived to clean his hotel suite on May 14.

Diallo, known as “Nafi” to her friends, said that her daughter told her: “She goes, ‘Mom, please promise me you stop crying. People call you bad names because they don’t know you.'”

“You have to remember this guy is a powerful man,” Diallo said, adding that she told her daughter, “I am going to be strong for you and for every other woman in the world.”

“What happened to me, I don’t want to happen to any other woman,” she said. “I said, ‘God, Why me?'”

“Only the people that you work with, or our neighbours, or those people back home, knows you. Those people say good things about you,” Diallo said her daughter had told her.

Nafissatou Diallo, an African immigrant, accused the French-born politician of trying to rape her and forcing her to have oral sex when she arrived to clean his suite at the Sofitel hotel on May 14th.

Strauss-Kahn was later pulled off an Air France jet on the tarmac at JFK airport and arrested the next day for sexual assault. His lawyers said the sex was consensual.

Since then, prosecutors have raised credibility issues about Diallo, who changed certain aspects of her account and talked with a convicted drug dealer about the case, the day after Strauss-Kahn’s arrest.

The 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn — the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund who was viewed as a possible French president — denies the charges and contends any sex that afternoon with Diallo was consensual.

Because of the phone calls and other discrepancies with Diallo’s story, prosecutors asked a judge to free Strauss-Kahn from house arrest on July 1st, and defense lawyers are working to get all criminal charges dropped.

She was found to have lied on her 2003 asylum application and on income tax returns. After saying she fled the scene of the alleged incident it emerged that she in fact went into a neighbouring room.

Diallo’s supporters on Thursday said District Attorney Cyrus Vance had mishandled the matter and should be replaced by a special prosecutor.

They suggested race and poverty may be a factor in the prosecution’s treatment of the case and said Vance’s office leaked numerous false stories about Diallo to the media, making her case harder to win.

Her lawyer Kenneth Thompson denied she was trying to shake the rich Frenchman down for cash, saying, “Nafi Diallo did not try to shake down Dominique Strauss-Kahn.”

One of her allies, Noel Leader, a former cop and co-founder of a New York black police association, accused Mr Vance of “literally throwing this victim of a sexual abuse case under a bus”.

“We believe that class, race and gender had an effect on this case,” said Mr Leader. “Cyrus Vance should be held accountable, and should be removed from office.” Rev Dr A.R. Bernard, pastor of the Christian centre that hosted the press conference, was asked if he and other figures would unite their communities to remove Mr Vance at his next election in 2013. [via The Telegraph and Reuters]

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