DA, lawyers hear tapes of Diallo, friend

Nafissatou Diallo, center, leaves Manhattan criminal court. (July Nafissatou Diallo, center, leaves Manhattan criminal court. (July 27, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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Tape recordings show that the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault never told a friend that she was out to get the French politician's money, her lawyer said Wednesday.

Nafissatou Diallo, her attorney Kenneth Thompson and a Fulani interpreter spent eight hours with investigators from the Manhattan district attorney's office Wednesday, listening much of the time to recordings of conversations Diallo had with a male friend in an Arizona prison.

After the meeting, Thompson said, "That tape shows the victim never said the words, 'he has a lot of money and I know what to do.' "

Rather, Thompson said the initial version of Diallo's remarks, which appeared in the news media, was a combination of things she said to the friend over more than one conversation.

"Certain things were merged together in this quote," said Thompson.

Thompson gave his interpretation of the prison tape after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. disclosed to Strauss-Kahn's lawyers in a letter that Diallo had lied about her background and to the grand jury about certain elements of the alleged sexual assault of May 14 at the Sofitel Hotel.

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"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," said Vance's spokeswoman Erin Duggan.

Vance didn't mention anything in the letter about the prison tapes. But issues about Diallo's credibility and whether Vance would be forced to drop the prosecution have dogged the case since the disclosure letter became public.

Thompson didn't say whether Vance's staff agreed with his interpreter's translation of the prison tapes. But he said the tapes show Diallo first related to her friend in their West African dialect that she had been sexually assaulted by Strauss-Kahn and characterized him as a "powerful and big man."

In a second prison call, it was Diallo's male friend who said "he is powerful, he is a rich man," Thompson said.

Thompson, who didn't say if Vance's staff planned to go ahead with the case, indicated that Diallo would sue Strauss-Kahn.

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