He said "you're beautiful" and grabbed her breasts. She replied: "Sir, stop this! I don't want to lose my job." But the naked man pushed her into his luxury hotel suite. "You're not going to lose your job," he said. Then, she claims, he proceeded to attack her.
The housekeeper behind the arrest, imprisonment and resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn has broken a two-month silence to give her version of the now-famous events which took place on Saturday 14 May in Room 2806 of the Sofitel in New York.
Nafissatou Diallo, a 32-year-old single mother from Guinea, appeared on ABC's Good Morning America yesterday, 24 hours after Newsweek published an interview in which she recalled her disputed encounter with the former head of the International Monetary Fund. "As God is my witness, I am telling the truth," she said.
Lawyers for Mr Strauss-Kahn, who was recently freed from prison amid reports that Ms Diallo's evidence may not stack up in court, say otherwise.
They say any sexual exchange was consensual and believe her media appearances represent an effort to dissuade prosecutors from dropping charges against their wealthy client. Ms Diallo is the first of the two key players in the DSK saga to talk publicly about the incident.
She said that the assault, which lasted less than 15 minutes, began when a small, naked white-haired man appeared in the entrance hall to a suite she was supposed to clean. The individual, later identified at a police line-up as Mr Strauss-Kahn, was "like a crazy man", she said.
After forcing her into a bedroom, slamming the door and pushing her on to the bed, she claims he grabbed at her crotch, tearing off her underwear.
She resisted, saying that a supervisor was nearby. But he said no one could hear and pushed her to her knees. Then he tried to force his penis into her mouth. Eventually, she claims he grabbed her head and forced her to perform oral sex.
"He was moving and making a noise. He was going like 'Uhh, uhh, uhh'."
Ms Diallo, who speaks in accented and at times broken English, was highly animated during her ABC interview, the first part of which was broadcast yesterday. Gesturing expansively, she went on to claim that her immediate fears in the assault's aftermath were of losing her livelihood.
"I run. I run out of there. I don't turn back. I run to the hallway," she said regarding the events that followed the alleged assault. "I was so nervous; I was so scared. I didn't want to lose my job."
Ms Diallo said she then resumed her cleaning duties, which paid $25 (£15) an hour. She was found by her supervisor, "shaken and upset".
After she explained what had happened, they called the police. Mr Strauss-Kahn was arrested at John F Kennedy airport as he attempted to board a flight home to France.
Most legal experts say Ms Diallo makes a credible witness when recalling the actual incident. Her version of events dovetails with forensic evidence. It also closely resembles what she initially told investigators, although there are some inconsistencies regarding her accounts of dialogue and of her movements immediately afterwards.
Whether she would withstand cross-examination in court is another matter. When talking about her lifestyle and personal history, Ms Diallo's answers were often "vague" and "forced", Newsweek claimed.
Prosecutors believe that she lied on her asylum application and (though she is illiterate) put her name to a falsified a US tax return.
With that in mind, Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said yesterday that Ms Diallo, who has filed a civil suit against their client, is now seeking money and fame rather than justice.
In a statement, the lawyers described her as "the first accuser in history to conduct a media campaign to persuade a prosecutor to pursue charges against a person from whom she wants money".
'I have to tell the truth': Nafissatou Diallo's account
* "I never want to be in public, but I have no choice... Now, I have to be in public. I have to, for myself. I have to tell the truth."
* "I was like, 'I'm so sorry.' I turned my head. He comes to me and grab my breasts... I said, 'Stop! Stop! I don't want to lose my job.'"
* "He pulls me hard to the bed... I push him. I get up. I wanted to scare him. I said, 'Look, there is my supervisor right there.'"
* "I got up... I run. I don't turn back. I run to the hallway. I was so nervous; I was so scared. I didn't want to lose my job... I was so alone. I was so scared."
* "I went to the room I have to clean... I was so, so, so, 'I don't know what to do.'"
* "I was watching the news and then they say he's going to be the next president of France, and I said, oh my God, and I was crying... Because I know if that was in my country, he's a powerful man like that, they're going to kill me before someone knows what happened to me."
* "Because of him they call me a prostitute... I want him to go to jail. I want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money... We are poor, but we are good... I don't think about money."
* "God is my witness. I'm telling the truth. From my heart. God knows that. And he knows that."Reuse content