Maid makes case to grand jury over IMF chief

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The maid accusing IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault testified Wednesday in front of a grand jury that must decide if there is enough evidence to try the French politician.

Her lawyer Jeff Shapiro refused comment on the closed-door proceedings but hit back at claims his client was part of an elaborate set-up intended to bring down the head of the International Monetary Fund.

Legally restricted from providing details on supposed evidence that could incriminate Strauss-Kahn, Shapiro shot down suggestions from the IMF chief's defense lawyers that the maid willingly consented to sex.

"There's been a lot of things stated out here of conspiracy theories and various other things and they are not true," Shapiro told CNN.

"The most important thing is for her to be vindicated. She has no other agenda other than to tell the truth and to be able to live her life the way she did before this event took place."

Strauss-Kahn, who denies all charges, is incarcerated in an isolated holding cell in the infamous Rikers Island jail on New York's East River awaiting the grand jury's decision, expected on Friday.

The maid, a 32-year-old Guinean who has not been officially identified, contends she only learned the identity of her alleged attacker a day after the assault in the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan.

"One day she will be able to walk in court and tell a jury what happened," Shapiro said. "And when that day comes and the jury tells her story, it will be quite clear that there was no aspect whatsoever about this encounter which was in any way construed as consensual."

The maid was described by her lawyer as an "observant woman" who had come to the United States "under adverse circumstances" with little education, struggling to make ends meet.

Separated for some time from her 15-year-old daughter because of the ordeal, she was doing "remarkably well considering what she's been through," Shapiro said.

"She doesn't know what her future will be. She hasn't been able to get professional help of any sort. She's been subjected to the interrogation... she's had trouble sleeping, had to wear the same clothes for three days.

"I have to tell you, I have great, great admiration for her and based upon the hours that I've spent talking to her," the lawyer added.

© 2011 AFP

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