2. What she acts like. The interview seems to take a balanced approach to Diallo's persona, which has been painted as everything from wholly guileless to masterfully manipulative. At moments, she is completely sincere:
Some of Diallo’s most upbeat moments in the interview came when she recounted the small promotions and credits available at the Sofitel for a job done well... Diallo’s eyes lit up talking about the routine and about her colleagues. “We worked as a team,” she said. “I loved the job. I liked the people. All different countries, American, African, and Chinese. But we were the same there.”
But then the writers also note some calculated moments:
Occasionally as Diallo talked, she wept, and there were moments when the tears seemed forced. Almost all questions about her past in West Africa were met with vague responses.
3. What her life is like. The interview makes plain that Diallo's responses on her past life are vague, but grim. "Her husband died of 'an illness,' she said. So did a daughter who was 3 or 4 months old—she wasn’t sure." She had suffered genital mutilation as a child. Even though she admittedly embellished details on her asylum application, she maintains she was raped by two soldiers who arrested her for a curfew violation at night in Conakry, the Guinean capital.
As for her life now, there isn't much to know: "Diallo cannot read or write in any language; she has few 'close friends,' she says, and some of the men she has spent time with, whom she does not call fiancés or boyfriends, but 'just friends,' appear to have taken advantage of her."
4. But is this really how we are deciding a sexual assault? The Newsweek article barely touches on any possible strangeness with regard to the interview itself: that a woman is in a position of having to describe the events of her alleged sexual assault to a magazine and television network while her prosecution is deciding whether or not to go forward. It does not discuss what this says about power and money and the way that sex crimes are prosecuted. It only offers this to Diallo's detractors:
It’s possible that Diallo is a woman who has lived for the last few years on the margins of quasi-illegal immigrant society in the Bronx, associating with petty con artists and dubious types trying to get a foothold in this country. But that does not preclude her having been the victim of a predatory and powerful man. Nor does it mean she will rule out an attempt to make some money from the situation.
5. The evidence. We are treated to a concise summary of the evidence considerations in the rape case, which appear to be by and large be in favor of the fact that Diallo is speaking the truth. For example:
Many aspects of Diallo’s account of the alleged attack are mirrored in the hospital records, in which doctors observed five hours afterward that there was “redness” in the area of the vagina where she alleges Strauss-Kahn grabbed her. The medical records also note she complained of “pain to left shoulder.” Weeks later, doctors reexamined the shoulder and found a partial ligament tear, she said.
And then there are some less than perfect pieces:
If there is one inconsistency for defense lawyers to dwell on in the hospital records, it is a passage that says her attacker got dressed and left the room, and “said nothing to her during the incident.” In her interview with police and her account to NEWSWEEK, Diallo recalled several statements Strauss-Kahn made during the alleged attack.
Following her ABC televised interview, there will be much more to consider. And after all this, perhaps a courtroom trial will be a breeze.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.