Strauss-Kahn accuser lawyer questions DA’s motives

PARIS (AP) ? A lawyer for the woman who accused former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault said he finds Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s motivations “incomprehensible.”

In an interview that appeared Sunday in France’s Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper, Douglas Wigdor said he suspects Vance might dismiss Sofitel hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo’s charges against Strauss-Kahn at a meeting next week, adding “I wonder about his motivations.”

“We don’t have confidence in his desire to take this to court,” Wigdor is quoted as saying. “If I were the district attorney, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. I know that most of the district attorneys in New York and in the country wouldn’t either.”

Wigdor also said that the defense team’s search in Europe for other women who allege they’d been victimized by Strauss-Kahn had turned up “many” people. “They’ll talk at the right moment,” he said. “Some of them are willing to testify.”

On Saturday, another Diallo attorney said the assistant district attorney offered to meet with his client on Monday, the day before Strauss-Kahn’s next scheduled court appearance. Media reports quoted him as saying he thought prosecutors wouldn’t have asked for the meeting unless they planned to drop the charges.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested during a May visit to New York City after a housekeeper at a Manhattan hotel told police he attacked her when she arrived to clean his suite. The woman, Diallo, told police that he forced her to perform oral sex and then left the hotel.

The arrest prompted Strauss-Kahn to resign from the International Monetary Fund, and disrupted his political career in France, where he was seen as a probable candidate for president.

But in July, prosecutors said publicly that Diallo had lied to them about her personal history and some critical details of the case. She also acknowledged lying to U.S. immigration officials about her life in Guinea, her native country, when she applied for political asylum in 2003. In addition, a law enforcement official said prosecutors discovered that, a day after the alleged attack, Diallo had called a friend to talk about the incident, and that during that call she had mentioned Strauss-Kahn’s wealth.

Asked whether inconsistencies in Diallo’s accounts of her earlier life and in her asylum application had compromised her credibility as a witness, Wigdor replied, “most victims have complicated pasts. If the new standard in American justice is to defend only those with a spotless past, they should come out and say it.”

Diallo (whose name is pronounced na-fee-SAH’-too dee-AH’-loh) has also pressed her claims in another forum by suing Strauss-Kahn for unspecified damages in the civil case.

Wigdor warned that the civil case would continue, regardless of Vance’s decision.

“If the charges are dropped, Mr. Strauss-Kahn still won’t have heard the end of the Diallo case,” Wigdor is quoted as saying.

The AP generally doesn’t name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they agree to be identified, as Diallo has done.