Maid to testify at IMF chief grand jury hearing
The hotel maid who says she was sexually assaulted by IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will testify before a grand jury hearing Wednesday and deny she willingly had sex with him, her attorney said.
Asked whether the woman would testify on Wednesday, lawyer Jeff Shapiro told NBC television: "I believe it will take place today, yes."
He confirmed the 32-year-old woman at the center of the explosive sex scandal was originally from Guinea.
And seeking to counter claims of an elaborate set up against the head of the International Monetary Fund, he said she only learned the identity of her alleged attacker a day after the assault in the Sofitel hotel in New York.
"There is nothing consensual about what took place in that hotel room," Shapiro stressed.
"I think that when the jury hears her testimony and sees her in person, and finally she can come public with this and tell her story, I think that (they will find) their claims of consensual sex or encounters are not true."
The woman has not been identified, but Shapiro told NBC that she is ready to fully cooperate with prosecutors in building the case against Strauss-Kahn.
Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, who have promised a "vigorous" defense, suggested at a bail hearing on Monday that it may have been a consensual sexual encounter. The IMF chief denies seven counts of sexual assault and unlawful imprisonment.
Defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in court that the evidence "will not be consistent with a forcible encounter."
Prosecutors, however, say they have physical evidence indicating attempted rape, including a doctor's exam made immediately after the incident.
"She's been in a whirlwind since this has taken place," Shapiro said, adding that the woman was now being held "in a safe place" with her 15-year-old daughter.
"She feels she can't go home. She feels she's been excised from her life," he said, revealing that after she returned home from being questioned by police she found a barrage of media outside her house.
The woman was "scared, incredulous" and "doesn't know what her future will bring," he added.
"What the world has to understand is she came from a part of the world where laws were few and far between. Justice wasn't readily available, at least to people without means," Shapiro added.
"That's why she's grateful to be in the United States. Nonetheless when she found out this encounter was with a man of great power and wealth she fears for herself and for her daughter."
A grand jury is due to decide whether there is enough evidence in the accusations to proceed to trial, with its decision set to be unveiled at Friday's next hearing for the head of the International Monetary Fund.
"She is prepared to do whatever she is asked to do, which is to cooperate with the New York City police department, the district attorney's office -- hours and hours of involvement," Shapiro said.
"She doesn't have an agenda. She's doing this because she believes it is her responsibility to do so, and she will do that."
© 2011 AFP