This morning, Nafissatou Diallo, who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her, held a press conference with her lawyer and community leaders who have supported her. Along with her media appearances earlier this week in Newsweek and ABC News, the appearances are seen as a way to goad the prosecutors into taking her case to trial, despite the doubts they've publicly expressed about her credibility.
The pastor of the Brooklyn church hosting the press conference said she had "no recourse but to seek an alternate platform where she could tell the truth."
In her remarks, Diallo spoke about her daughter, saying, "Me and my family, we are going through a lot." She said they cried every day. "People call me a lot of bad names... that's why I have to be here and let people know that a lot of things they say about me are not true," she said. (That includes The New York Post's unsubstantiated report that Diallo is a prostitute, over which she is suing the paper.)
One repeated talking point was the notion that Diallo had stood up for all women who were sexually assaulted but unable to come forward. Attorney Kenneth Thompson said, "She represents not just herself but women who have been victims around the world. Diallo also mentioned she was standing up for "every other woman in the world."
Yesterday, Thompson held a separate conference to dispute previous reports of a jailhouse recording of a call between Diallo and an incarcerated friend, which had been described by an anonymous source to The New York Times as, "She says words to the effect of, ‘Don't worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I'm doing,'" the official said. Thompson didn't get to listen to the call until yesterday, nearly a month later, but in the meantime, the call — a questionable translation paraphrased by an unaccountable law enforcement source — was a major reason her case had been dismissed by certain commentators. Like, for example, William Saletan, who, writing in Slate saw it as reason enough to declare the case over and done with:
"[A]n innocent man might be convicted. We've now been spared that nightmare, thanks to the availability and diligent pursuit of evidence against which to check the accuser's credibility....What the collapse of this case proves is that it's possible to distinguish true rape accusations from false ones-and that the government, having staked its reputation on an accuser's credibility, diligently investigated her and disclosed her lies. The system worked.
What touching faith in the system! We don't yet know what hand the justice system will deal Diallo. What's clearly failed here is journalism, as practiced by a handful of prominent gentlemen.