Strauss-Kahn video shows maid was truthful: lawyers

8th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Hotel video surveillance footage shown for the first time Thursday is "further proof" that the maid accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault was telling the truth, her lawyers said.

But Strauss-Kahn biographer Michel Taubmann, meanwhile, accused "a small group of people from the Sofitel" of having ensnared Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a "trap."

France's BFMTV broadcast images showing the former International Monetary Fund chief paying his bill, leaving and getting into a taxi after he was alleged to have sexually assaulted chambermaid Nafissatou Diallo at the New York Sofitel.

They showed that Strauss-Kahn, who admits that a sexual liaison took place but insists it was consensual, was not in a hurry when he left the Sofitel hotel at 12:27 pm on the day of his arrest, May 14.

Other images showed Diallo seated in a corridor and being looked after by Sofitel employees after she said Strauss-Kahn attacked her in his suite.

A hotel employee is shown and heard calling police to inform them of the alleged attack.

"Shortly after Strauss-Kahn jumped into a yellow cab and left the scene, Ms Diallo is shown on video demonstrating to her supervisor and hotel security how he pushed her down the hallway to the back of the hotel suite," her lawyers Kenneth Thompson and Douglas Wigdor said in a statement.

"No baseless conspiracy theory changes that very important fact."

They called the leaked video surveillance tape "further proof that Ms Diallo is telling the truth about the brutal sexual attack committed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn," and said they looked forward to a trial for civil damages.

New York prosecutors dropped the criminal case against Strauss-Kahn, who had been tipped to win next year's French presidential election, after Diallo was deemed an unreliable witness.

Taubmann, whose biography of Strauss-Kahn was published December 1, denied he was chalking up the incident to a "conspiracy theory." Strauss-Kahn has distanced himself from Taubmann's account.

"But it's a small group of people from the Sofitel who laid a trap against DSK," Taubmann told AFP.

"I have seen all of the videos... At no point in time, I can assure you, during the three hours that followed the alleged assault does Ms Diallo seem to complain or to cry.

"The fact that she does not cry does not mean she was not raped but it contradicts the account of her lawyers, who say she was overwhelmed, that she suffered horribly from pain in her shoulder. She is seen leaning against a wall, waving her arms about. She never had a shoulder injury," he added.

Two other hotel employees can be seen briefly celebrating in other images broadcast by BFMTV. The hotel has said the celebration, which had fueled speculation of a plot against Strauss-Kahn, was unconnected with the alleged attack.

Hotel group Accor, which owns the Sofitel, criticized the broadcasting of the footage, saying it "exposes staff members to media curiosity to no useful purpose."

© 2011 AFP

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