The New York City hotel maid accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault said she learned he was a French political figure from news reports.
Nafissatou Diallo said she didn't know Strauss-Kahn was the head of the International Monetary Fund or a possible candidate for the French presidency when she made the allegations.
Diallo told ABC's "Good Morning America" that when she found out, she says she cried and thought: "They're going to kill me. I'm going to die."
Diallo spoke to Newsweek and ABC, which aired a portion of her interview Monday morning. Diallo's decision to speak out in media interviews is an unusual move for an accuser.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, denies the allegations. His attorneys say any sexual encounter wasn't forced.
Prosecutors are weighing whether to press ahead with the case amid concerns about her credibility.
Newsweek published an online version of its interview with Diallo on Sunday, in which the maid gives a graphic account of how Strauss-Kahn forcibly made her perform oral sex.
"You're beautiful," she claimed the French politician told her, as he wrestled her toward the bedroom in the Sofitel suite she came to clean. "I said, 'Sir, stop this. I don't want to lose my job.'"
Diallo went on to describe the way Strauss-Kahn violently handled her -- clutching at her breasts, pulling her "hard to the bed," and tearing down her pantyhose to grab at her crotch.
After he allegedly forced her to perform oral sex, the maid said, "I was spitting. I run. I run out of there. I don't turn back. I run to the hallway. I was so nervous; I was so scared. I didn't want to lose my job."
Diallo did not disguise her anger at Strauss-Kahn in speaking to Newsweek. "Because of him they call me a prostitute," she told the weekly magazine. "I want him to go to jail. I want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money."
Strauss-Kahn's lawyers denounced Diallo's move to speak to the media.
"Ms. Diallo is the first accuser in history to conduct a media campaign to persuade a prosecutor to pursue charges against a person from whom she wants money. Her lawyers and public relations consultants have orchestrated an unprecedented number of media events and rallies to bring pressure on the prosecutors in this case after she had to admit her extraordinary efforts to mislead them. Her lawyers know that her claim for money suffers a fatal blow when the criminal charges are dismissed, as they must be," Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said in a statement to Fox News.
"This conduct by lawyers is unprofessional and it violates fundamental rules of professional conduct for lawyers," Strauss-Kahn's lawyers added. "Its obvious purpose is to inflame public opinion against a defendant in a pending criminal case."
DNA evidence in traces of the maid's saliva mixed with Strauss-Kahn's semen indicates that there was a sexual encounter between them at the hotel on May 14. The politician's lawyers have suggested that the sex was consensual, and have said the case against him has largely crumbled amid doubts over the maid's credibility.
"The fact is, however, that the number of rallies, press conferences, and media events they ahve orchestrated is exceeded only by the number of lies and misstatements she has made to law enforcement, friends, medical professionals and reporters," the lawyers said.
"It is time for this unseemly circus to stop," they said.
Strauss-Kahn, who is currently on bail, has pleaded not guilty to the seven charges against him, including attempted rape.
His arrest as he prepared to depart on a flight for Paris has generated headlines and debate around the world, cost him his job at the helm of the IMF and has apparently dashed his hopes for a run at the French presidency.
NewsCore contributed to this report.