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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Accuser's Media Blitz Carries Risks?

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By Noeleen Walder, NEW YORK / / Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:58pm EDT.

ABC's Robin Roberts talks to the alleged victim in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, Nafissatou Diallo in New York, July 24, 2011. REUTERS/ABC/Heidi Gutman/Handout

(Reuters) - After more than two months in seclusion and anonymity, the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her is telling her story and hoping for success in the court of public opinion.

But legal experts say talking to the media at this point is a risky tactic that could weaken the prosecution's case against Strauss-Kahn and reduce the woman's chances of winning a civil suit, which her lawyers said she intends to file shortly.

"I think the decision to come forward is a desperate gambit to try to put pressure on the prosecution to consider not dropping the case," said Alan Dershowitz, a well-known criminal-defense attorney.

Dershowitz said that while this move could ultimately succeed, "it's a high-risk tactic, obviously devised by her lawyer, who may see a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

Originally cast as a victim with a steadfast story, Nafissatou Diallo's credibility was called into serious doubt after prosecutors alleged she lied on her asylum application and gave varying accounts of her actions after the May 14 encounter at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan.

Kenneth Thompson, one of Diallo's attorneys, insists the purpose of the media offensive is to counter her negative and inaccurate portrayal in the media.

"Ms. Diallo came forward to clear her name," he said. "She is not a prostitute or a hooker or a con artist trying to shake down DSK. ... She is the victim of a brutal sexual assault."


In an interview with Newsweek -- part of a well-orchestrated media blitz one week before Strauss-Kahn's next court date -- Diallo, 32, said of Strauss-Kahn: "I want him to go to jail. I want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money."

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