07.26.11 4:55 AM ET
The DSK Maid Tells All
When did the maid accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape use her hotel keycard, what did she tell hospital staffers after the alleged assault, and whom did Strauss-Kahn call? Christopher Dickey and John Solomon on the key points.
Forensic tests confirm a sexual encounter in a hotel suite, but prosecutors doubt the credibility of their star witness. The alleged victim has gone public in dramatic and unexpected fashion to fight back. And the media is awash in conspiracy theories.
Welcome to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault case, which has captured the fascination of two continents. And while all the media attention focuses on the made-for-TV twists and turns, the fate of Strauss-Kahn may rest on the more mundane: physical evidence such as hospital reports, hotel keycard records, and phone logs.
She was paid to clean up after the rich and powerful. Then she walked into Dominique Strauss-Kahn's room—and a global scandal. Now she tells her story.
The maid hovered in the suite’s large living room, just inside the entrance. The 32-year-old Guinean, an employee of the Sofitel Hotel, had been told by a room-service waiter that room 2806 was now free for cleaning, “Hello? Housekeeping,” the maid called out again. No reply. The door to the bedroom, to her left, was open, and she could see part of the bed. She glanced around the living room for luggage, saw none. “Hello? Housekeeping.” Then a naked man with white hair suddenly appeared, as if out of nowhere.
The French were jolted out of their summer doldrums when Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser went public in a Newsweek cover story. Tracy McNicoll polls the response from Paris—and finds that public opinion is as divided as ever.
France normally slumbers in its usual empty late-July news hole, but the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair is not apt to let that happen this summer.
Newsweek's exclusive interview with Nafissatou Diallo, the maid who accused the former IMF chief of attempted rape at New York's Sofitel Hotel on May 14, is a top headline here. And French readers aren't waiting for holidaying talking heads to tell them what to think. They are discussing the maid's tale en masse, with the story quickly becoming the most talked-about item on websites for French dailies like Le Monde and Libération.
She was pretty and successful. He was a skirt chaser now accused of attempted rape. Why does wife Anne Sinclair put up with DSK? How French women think.
Anne Sinclair was as unimpeachable as Barbara Walters, as luscious as Diane Sawyer, as authoritative as both. For 13 years, from 1984 to 1997, she hosted 7/7, a show on TF1, France’s main TV channel, where a prominent guest commented on the week’s news. With her curly black hair, blue eyes, pale skin, and curves, she gave off an aura of relaxed sexuality. Her onscreen costume was a curiously intimate range of electric-blue mohair sweaters. The granddaughter of Picasso’s art dealer Paul Rosenberg, she had family money—along with looks, clout, and gravitas. The fact that she was Jewish was pointed out in ways both sly and crude—the National Front called her “une pulpeuse charcutière casher” (“a juicy kosher pork butcher”). But she was the brightest of all French television stars.
With the hotel maid’s credibility questioned, officials are interviewing other women who alleged abuse by Dominique Strauss-Kahn—including his French accuser, Tristane Banon.
Prosecutors in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case are likely weeks away from making a decision on whether to proceed to trial or drop the charges, and they are building a suspect profile gleaned from evidence from other women who claimed they were attacked or had consensual encounters with the former International Monetary Fund boss.
Gathered from police records, court documents, and exclusive interviews by NEWSWEEK, a complete chronology of the sexual-assault case that has shaken politics on both sides of the Atlantic.
Friday, May 13, 2011: Approximately 7:25 p.m.: Strauss-Kahn checks into room 2806 at the Sofitel Hotel, a $3,000-a-night suite on the 28th floor for which he pays a day rate. A hotel receptionist later alleges he makes an unwanted sexual advance. According to sources familiar with the account, she alleges that she accompanied him to his room, gave him a card that is customary for VIPs, and then when she returned, he called her, said he had Champagne in his room, and invited her to join him.