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Hotel maid goes public with allegations against ex-IMF chief

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Accuser in DSK case goes public
  • NEW: The DA declines to comment; the next NY court date is August 1
  • Nafissatou Diallo conducts interviews with Newsweek and ABC News
  • Strauss-Kahn's lawyer claim these are all part of a bid to get a settlement
  • The accuser's attorney says the defense has conducted a "smear campaign"

(CNN) -- The maid who accused former International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in a New York City hotel room has ended her months-long silence and gone public.

Nafissatou Diallo, whose credibility has been questioned by Strauss-Kahn's lawyers and prosecutors, spoke to Newsweek magazine for an article posted on its website Sunday. She also conducted an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News, which is set to air Monday on "Good Morning America."

CNN previously has not identified Diallo, given the network's policy against naming sexual assault victims. But it is now naming her, in light of her decision to make her case to the media.

On May 14, Diallo accused Strauss-Kahn -- who besides being a global economic leader had been mentioned as a leading contender for the French presidency -- of assaulting her at Manhattan's Sofitel Hotel, where she was an employee. He was charged in New York with sexual abuse and attempted rape, pleading not guilty on all counts.

In an interview conducted at her lawyer's office in New York City, Diallo told Newsweek that Strauss-Kahn was naked when he slammed the door shut to his luxury hotel room, forced himself upon her and tried to make her perform oral sex on him.

"Because of him they call me a prostitute," Diallo said, referring to published reports she had sex for money. "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."

The 32-year-old native of Guinea told the magazine she was "nervous" and "scared" when she eventually ran from the room, ending an incident that took about 15 minutes.

Yet the fallout has been far more extensive, and continues.

Strauss-Kahn was initially arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport while on board a Paris-bound plane. His arrest created an international furor, prompting his resignation as IMF chief as New York Judge Michael Obus ordered him held under a $6 million bail.

After posting bond, Strauss-Kahn had been confined to a luxury townhouse. But on July 1, the judge freed him from house arrest after prosecutors presented evidence showing that Diallo admitted she had lied about the specifics of her whereabouts after the incident and, from her past, the details of an asylum application and information she put on tax forms.

But while the case took a dramatic turn, the charges against the 62-year-old have not been dismissed. And there have been more twists in recent weeks, including writer Tristane Banon's filing of a complaint accusing Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape in France, stemming from an alleged 2003 incident in Paris. A lawyer for Strauss-Kahn in France said he subsequently filed a counter-claim against Banon for false declarations.

Still, most of the intrigue remains centered in the United States, where lawyers for the suspect and the defendant continue to go back and forth challenging each other's tactics. Diallo's interviews further stoked those fires, prompting strongly worded responses from both sides.

On Sunday, Strauss-Kahn's U.S.-based attorneys William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman issued a statement chastising Diallo for talking with the media, claiming she is "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."

"The number of rallies, press conferences and media events they have orchestrated is exceeded only by the number of lies and misstatements she has made to law enforcement, friends, medical professionals and reporters," the lawyers said, referring to her and her attorney's actions. "It is time for this unseemly circus to stop."

Kenneth Thompson, Diallo's attorney, shot back accusing Strauss-Kahn's attorneys of conducting "an unprecedented smear campaign against the victim of a violent sexual attack."

"Because of those contemptible, baseless and anonymous attacks, Ms. Diallo was forced to come forward in order to put a face to the brutal crime," Thompson said in a statement.

Strauss-Kahn's next court date is scheduled for August 1. The hearing had been pushed back from mid-July as prosecutors tried to determine whether to drop the charges or move forward in the case, said Erin Duggan, communications director for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

On Sunday, amid the fresh attention related to Diallo's interviews, Duggan refrained from comment on what she called the "pending criminal case."

"To protect the integrity of the criminal justice system, the rights of the victim, and the rights of the accused, we will not discuss the facts or evidence in what remains an ongoing investigation," she said in a statement.

CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.