New evidence backs Strauss-Kahn accuser
New evidence has emerged in favour of the hotel maid, Nafissatou Diallo, who has accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault after prosecutors raised doubts about the credibility of the maid’s testimony. And Strauss-Kahn is to countersue the French writer who accuses him of attempted rape.
Diallo originally testified that after the alleged assault in suite 2806 she fled into the hallway on the 28th floor of the Sofitel hotel. She then admitted she had lied and had in fact gone to clean another room before returning to room 2806.
According to Le Figaro, information gained from the electronic key cards used by hotel maids to gain access to rooms show Nafissatou Diallo entered suite 2806 at 12h06 and opened the door to the adjacent suite 2820 at 12h26. She then stayed in that room for no more than one minute before returning to suite 2806.
This new evidence appears to confirm the statement made by one of the hotel’s housekeepers who said she found Diallo lying prostrate in suite 2820 before taking her back to Strauss-Kahn’s suite to confront him over the assault claims.
Meanwhile, former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn says he will sue for slander a 32-year-old French woman who claims he tried to rape her in 2003. Tristane Baron is set to file a case for attempted rape against Strauss-Kahn to prosecutors on Tuesday.
But Strauss-Kahn has dismissed her claim as “imaginary” and says he will countersue.
Banon says the incident took place after Strauss-Kahn lured her to a virtually empty apartment under the pretence of granting her an interview. She then says he wanted to hold her hand while she conducted the interview.
“Then the hand went to my arm, then a bit further, so I stopped straight away,” she told the interviewer on a TV chat show in 2007. “Ít finished very violently, as I told him clearly ‘No, No’ and we finished up fighting on the floor.”
The name of her alleged attacker was bleeped out during the interview, but Banon later confirmed to the AgoraVox website that she was referring to Strauss-Kahn. Her mother, a Socialist politician, persuaded her not to make a formal complaint for fear of harming her career in journalism.
Banon says Strauss-Kahn’s release on Friday from house arrest on charges of trying to rape a hotel maid had helped change her mind.
“Today, seeing Strauss-Kahn freed [from house arrest] then afterward dining in a fancy restaurant with friends, that makes me sick.”
Legal experts in the US, claim Banon’s accusation will not affect his trial in New York as US law would make it very difficult to introduce the French case as evidence against the ex-IMF chief.
Meanwhile, Kenneth Thompson, the lawyer for the New York hotel maid who has accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, says he supports the French journalist.
Before Banon’s announcement, France was divided on whether it wanted Strauss-Kahn, a former government minister, back in public life.
A poll released on Monday found that 51 per cent of French people thought Strauss-Kahn no longer had a political future, versus 42 per cent who thought he did. Another poll published on Sunday in Le Parisien showed 49 per cent wanted Strauss-Kahn to return to French politics.