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Strauss-Kahn accuser meets for 7 hours with prosecutors

From Susan Candiotti, CNN
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nafissatou Diallo is to appear publicly on Thursday
  • Her civil lawyer describes Wednesday's meeting as "open"
  • Prior talks had ended abruptly when her lawyer accused the prosecutor of "abandoning" her
  • Prosecutors had disclosed credibility issues with Diallo

New York (CNN) -- The hotel maid who has accused the then-head of the International Monetary Fund of sexually assaulting her met Wednesday with prosecutors for at least seven hours.

Her lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, described Wednesday's meeting as "open." He is representing her in any civil case that might be brought.

Prior meetings between the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, and prosecutors who are deciding whether to pursue charges against French financier Dominique Strauss-Kahn ended abruptly last month after Thompson accused Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance of "abandoning" her.

Prosecutors had disclosed credibility issues with Diallo, who is from Guinea.

Wednesday's talks centered on recorded jailhouse calls to Diallo from an immigration detainee fighting deportation after a drug-trafficking case.

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The two spoke in a Guinean dialect, which prosecutors had translated. Diallo's attorney said he has challenged the translation and demanded to hear the calls as they were recorded.

In the first call, made the day after the alleged attack, prosecutors and other sources paraphrased Diallo as having said something like, "I know what I'm doing. There's money to be made from this."

Thompson denied that was an accurate description of the conversation between his client and the inmate. Thompson said news reports had quoted sources who paraphrased and merged together different calls, thereby changing the meaning.

Thompson said Diallo had told her friend in that first call: "A man at her job tried to rape her. They fought, he tried to take her clothes off and, when he couldn't, he made her perform oral sex."

Thompson said a second call was also misinterpreted. Referring to news reports that described the content of the conversation between Diallo and the inmate, the lawyer said, "I can tell you this, that the guy in jail, the second time they spoke, said, 'He's powerful, he's a rich man.' She did not say, 'I know what to do.'

"When he asked her if she had a lawyer, if she was OK, she said, 'I know what to do' before the guy said anything about Dominique Strauss-Kahn. So when you think about that quote, the quote was misleading, in my opinion. Because the quote made it seem like her sole focus was on his money and how to get his money. Her sole, her primary focus, was on what happened to her, how she was coping with the fact that she had almost been raped."

Investigators have said Diallo lied on a political asylum application and about other issues involving her background.

In interviews, she has acknowledged making mistakes, but insisted she has told the truth about the alleged attack in a hotel suite off Times Square. Authorities have said her account of the incident is credible.

Diallo is to make her first public appearance Thursday.

"She plans to thank supporters," Thompson told CNN. She will meet with the pastor of the Christian Cultural Church in Brooklyn and leaders of several Muslim organizations who have backed her and urged that prosecutors take her case to trial.

Strauss-Kahn is charged with attacking Diallo in May. He has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys have hinted that any sexual encounter may have been consensual.

Diallo's attorney said the Sofitel New York employee wants to tell a jury what happened to her. "I want justice. I want him to go to jail," Diallo told ABC's "Good Morning America" in an interview that aired this week.

The prosecution has said the investigation is ongoing. "This is a pending criminal case," said Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. "We will have no comment on evidence, or on any meetings between prosecutors and witnesses, civil attorneys, or defense counsel."

On Tuesday, prosecutors announced the postponement of a status hearing for another three weeks, until August 23.

Strauss-Kahn's attorneys have called for prosecutors to dismiss the case altogether.

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