NEW YORK (AP) — The hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault made her first public appearance Thursday, thanking her supporters and saying she and her family had gone through a lot in the last two months.
Speaking at a cultural center in Brooklyn, a visibly nervous Nafissatou Diallo told a throng of reporters she was speaking because she wanted to "let people know a lot of things they say about me is not true."
It was the 32-year-old's first public appearance since breaking her silence in recent interviews with ABC and Newsweek.
It's nearly unheard of for an alleged sex assault victim to speak publicly before the end of court proceedings, and it's not clear whether her decision to come forward affected her already-tenuous relationship with the prosecutors investigating her case.
Diallo and her attorney met with prosecutors on Wednesday for nearly eight hours. It was their first meeting since the Manhattan district attorney's office publicly announced it had doubts about her credibility. The office said she lied about what she did in the moments after her encounter with Strauss-Kahn and about her background, including by telling prosecutors a false story of having been gang-raped in her native Guinea.
Prosecutors also were concerned that the woman had mentioned Strauss-Kahn's wealth in a recorded conversation with an incarcerated friend, and that she had little explanation for tens of thousands of dollars other people had deposited in her bank account, a law enforcement official has said.
She and her lawyer have said she has made some mistakes in her life, but they should have no bearing on the case. She has said some of the questions raised about her credibility were the results of misunderstandings or misperceptions.
Strauss-Kahn has been charged with attempted rape and other crimes. The former head of the International Monetary Fund has denied Diallo's accusations. His next court date is Aug. 23, and his attorneys have said they hope the case will be dropped.
Diallo said the past two months had been filled with a lot of tears from her and her teenage daughter. She said her daughter asked her to be strong.
"I promise her I'm going to be strong for you and every other woman in the world," she said.
Diallo's attorney Kenneth Thompson said she has been wrongfully portrayed as a money-grubbing opportunist in newspaper accounts of her recorded remarks to the incarcerated friend.
The recordings also established that Diallo recounted the attack to the man during their first conversation, a day after the alleged attack. Her lawyer said that showed that her focus was on what had happened to her, not on the former French presidential candidate's wealth or stature.