Dominque Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund who was widely viewed as a likely contender for the French presidency, faced sexual assault allegations by a chambermaid who says he attacked her in May. The maid, an immigrant from Guinea, speaks a West African dialect called Fulani. The maid spoke Fulani to a mysterious West African friend who was incarcerated someplace in Arizona for drug charges, and the call was recorded, and this helped shatter her credibility. (She also lied on her income tax form and her political asylum application, according to press reports.) The reason the taped phone conversation shattered the maid’s cred, at least in the eyes of newspaper reporters who talked to prosecutors, is that the maid said something to the effect of “Don’t worry I know what I am doing” and the inference was that she was going to scam DSK, who is enormously rich.
After word of the taped conversation got out, DSK, who on home arrest in cushy quarters in New York, was released. (He can’t leave the USA, though.) Prosecutors still haven’t decided whether they will pursue the case.
In other words, that phone call with the guy in Arizona was important.
I’m telling you all this so you’ll know why media outlets all over the USA were scrambling to get in touch with the mysterious West African friend, to get his side of the story. The problem, though, was that no one knew his name, or where he was incarcerated.
That is, until The Daily Beast found him. His name is Amara Tarawally, and he is an unauthorized immigrant from Sierra Leone, and in an exclusive interview with me, he claims he’s the maid’s fiance. He was arrested in a pot bust in Chandler, Arizona, about a year ago. After serving time in jail, he was transferred to a detention center in Eloy, Arizona, pending a hearing on his immigration status. But since his immigration case is based in New York, the case hasn’t been transferred out to Arizona yet and he’s in limbo. He told me even Sierra Leone would be better than detention because he’s been in the dark for so long, and feels cut off from the world. He also told me the phone call was taken completely out of context, that the maid is a beautiful woman who would never lie, and that he learned English from watching CNN, The Price is Right, and Deal or No Deal.
What do you think?
Did DSK assault the maid?
And how come just about every good news story has an Arizona connection?