The midtown hotel maid accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault vigorously defended herself in a media campaign Monday, a move that some experts said is unlikely to help her case.
“I never want to be in public, but I have no choice,” Nafissatou Diallo, 32, told ABC News in an interview that aired Monday.
“I have to for myself,” added Diallo, a Guinean immigrant and mother. “I want him to go to jail.”
Defense lawyers for Strauss-Kahn, the ex-IMF chief who could have been France’s next president, said Diallo’s detailed interviews about the alleged May 14 attack create an “unseemly circus” designed to pressure the Manhattan DA to proceed with the case.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, has pleaded not guilty.
Diallo recounted how she mistakenly walked into the hotel room where a naked Strauss-Kahn grabbed her breast, pulled her into a bedroom and tried to force her to perform oral sex. She cried when she said she learned he was a powerful man and thought she would be killed.
The case, however, could crumble because of issues with Diallo’s credibility, including changing statements about what happened during the alleged attack. Her decision to speak out now may amount to a “Hail Mary [pass],” said James Cohen, a Fordham University law professor.
“This is fertile ground for inconsistent statements, which won’t help the prosecution,” Cohen said.
Regardless of whether the District Attorney presses the case, Diallo’s lawyer told ABC he would file a civil suit this week.
Body language expert and retired federal law enforcement officer Janine Driver said Diallo appeared to be telling the truth during her interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts – with the exception of one “hot spot.”
Toward the end of the tape, when asked if she is a prostitute – an assertion made in the New York Post – “[Diallo] says, ‘I am not,’ and nods her head yes,” Driver noted.
That giveaway means “there is more to the story,” Driver added.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday.