Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Nafissatou Diallo

She exploded into the headlines last spring anonymously, known simply as "the maid" — but by the time we learned Nafissatou Diallo's name, she had changed history. The 32-year-old Guinean immigrant's accusation that she had been sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn (charges he denied) on May 14 in the course of her work cleaning rooms at Manhattan's Sofitel hotel brought to an abrupt end his tenure as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, from which he resigned soon after his arrest by the NYPD. It also destroyed his prospects of winning the Socialist Party's nomination to run against President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's French presidential election. After prosecutors claimed to have problems with Diallo's credibility, a New York judge granted their motion to drop criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn, although she has since filed a civil suit against the Frenchman.