Was Nafi Diallo’s Phone Call Lost in Translation?

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Photo: Diallo

That's what Kenneth Thompson, lawyer for the Sofitel housekeeper says. One of the most credibility-damaging details to emerge last month was that she supposedly said, to a friend in jail, "words to the effect of: ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing. ” But Thompson says, after reviewing a translation of the call, her words were "mischaracterized." The man she called raised the question of cash, he says, and Diallo brushed him off, at least on that initial call.


It was during the second call that the subject of money came up, the lawyer said.

“The guy in jail called back several hours later, expressing concern, ‘Are you O.K.,’ and she says she is,” Mr. Thompson said. “During the second conversation, she said, ‘People from France keep calling me and saying he’s rich and powerful.’ ”

The man then expressed concern about her, the lawyer said, asking whether she was safe.

“She told him she was in Manhattan, that a lawyer was coming to see her — it was not me,” Mr. Thompson said. “She said, ‘Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing.’ ”

The man kept bringing up money, and Diallo told him to "stop," since " The lawyer will get it." Thompson — who didn't have access to the recordings, but was working off notes he took during an earlier listening session with a Fulani translator— argues she meant something more like "the lawyer will handle this situation" than "the lawyer will get me cash."

One source tells the Times that Thompson did in fact pursue a cash settlement in June, which he vehemently denies. The case has always been a he-said, she-said, and it's become an ever-more baroque version of the same.

Strauss-Kahn's Accuser Was Misquoted, Lawyer Says [NYT]