Maid in rape case meets with DA
First visit since prosecutor cast doubt on her
NEW YORK - The hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault spent nearly eight hours with prosecutors yesterday in the first meeting since the district attorney’s office publicly announced it had doubts about her credibility.
Nafissatou Diallo’s attorney, Kenneth Thompson, said the meeting went very well and focused on tapes of two conversations she had with an incarcerated friend shortly after Strauss-Kahn’s arrest.
Diallo did not speak to reporters outside the district attorney’s office.
Diallo spoke to the man, whom she characterized as a friend, while he was in an immigration jail in Arizona.
Prosecutors heard the recordings and found that she alluded to Strauss-Kahn’s money, a law enforcement official has said.
Thompson said they listened to the tapes together yesterday, and the recordings established that Diallo mentioned that Strauss-Kahn was powerful and rich, only in the context of having been attacked by someone influential.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance said they would not comment.
“This is a pending criminal case. We will have no comment on evidence, or on any meetings between prosecutors and witnesses, civil attorneys, or defense counsel,’’ he said in statement.
The last time Diallo spoke to the district attorney’s office was in June and ended with her in tears as prosecutors asked about inconsistencies they had uncovered in her past, her attorney has said. Yesterday’s meeting came one day after the district attorney and Strauss-Kahn’s attorneys announced they had agreed to postpone his next court date to Aug. 23, when prosecutors could announce whether they will go forward with the case.
Doubts about Diallo’s background - which included lying on her asylum application that she had been gang-raped and phone conversations she had with the man in the Arizona prison after the Strauss-Kahn encounter - prompted prosecutors to agree to have the former head of the International Monetary Fund freed from house arrest.
The relationship between prosecutors and Diallo deteriorated further after the public announcement, and her lawyer called for a special prosecutor.
Diallo, 32, a widowed immigrant from Guinea with a 15-year-old daughter, broke her silence in recent days with interviews in Newsweek and on a series of ABC News programs. It is not clear whether that further widened the rift.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, a one-time French presidential contender and the former International Monetary Fund managing director, was arrested May 14 after Diallo said he forced her to perform oral sex, manhandled her, and ripped her stockings in his luxury suite at the Sofitel Hotel near Manhattan’s Times Square.
He has been charged with attempted rape and other crimes.
He has denied the accusations. His attorneys are seeking to have the case dropped and say there is no evidence to suggest the encounter was forced.
The Associated Press does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Diallo has done.