Lawyer for Maid in IMF Chief Case: Her Life Has Been Turned Upside Down

By Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz
|  Tuesday, May 17, 2011  |  Updated 5:47 PM EDT
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Dominique Strauss-Kahn walks in police custody as police investigate assault allegations.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn walks in police custody as police investigate assault allegations.

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The attorney for the maid who says she was sexually assaulted by the head of the International Monetary Fund inside his Manhattan hotel room tells NBC New York that "her life has been turned upside down."

Speaking publicly about the case for the first time, attorney Jeffrey Shapiro said Tuesday that the woman, a widow and mother of a teenage girl, is in hiding but cooperating with prosecutors and police in the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He was charged Monday with attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

Strauss-Kahn is a member of France's Socialist party and was widely considered the strongest potential challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy next year.

A source tells NBC New York that the maid did not know who he was until well after the attack.

The 32-year-old woman, whose name is being withheld by NBC New York, has told police that she entered Strauss-Kahn's room at the Sofitel near Times Square on Saturday afternoon, expecting to clean it.

She thought no one was there, but he allegedly came out of the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom where he sexually assaulted her, police said.

She has said she fought him off but he then dragged her into the bathroom and forced her to perform oral sex.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, denies the charges and has said there is no evidence of a forced encounter.

A source has told NBC New York that semen was found at the scene.

Shapiro, her lawyer, said "she can't go home. She can't go to work."

"This woman was physically assaulted," Shapiro added.

Brafman declined comment on the statements from the maid's attorney.

Strauss-Kahn is jailed at Rikers without bail until his next hearing on Friday. A source tells NBC New York he is on suicide watch.

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