NEW YORK — An Arizona inmate identified as the fiance of the woman accusing Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape, defended her in an online interview Wednesday, saying she would have had no cause to invent her story.

"I know that he (Strauss-Kahn) did what he did," said Amara Tarawally, 35, described by online news website "The Daily Beast" as an illegal immigrant from Sierra Leone. "She had no reason to lie," he told the news site.

Tarawally, who is in prison awaiting possible deportation, told The Daily Beast that he first met the maid "six or seven years ago," and described her "a good lady, very honest."

The chambermaid, who emigrated from Guinea to New York and applied for asylum in 2004, has accused the former IMF head of sexually assaulting in May, in an explosive case that has been headline news around the world.

Legal analysts said it was the woman's relationship to Tarawally -- who served nine months of a drug-related sentence and now is being held in a facility in the desert town of Eloy, Arizona -- which shredded her credibility in the case.

Particularly suspect were alleged remarks she made to her inmate-boyfriend in a phone conversation one day after the alleged assault, alluding to Strauss-Kahn's wealth, and saying "I know what I'm doing" in how she handles the case.

Tarawally insisted that neither he nor the maid had ever heard of Strauss-Kahn until the incident, and denied allegations by the tabloid New York Post newspaper that the maid was a part-time prostitute, insisting that, to the contrary, she is a devout Muslim.

"I tell her pray, pray, pray" to get through the legal ordeal, he said.

Tarawally was arrested in July 2010 according to court records cited by The Daily Beast and produced almost $40,000 in cash to buy 114 pounds of marijuana from a man who turned out to be a police informant in Chandler, Arizona.

After a plea bargain, three felony charges were dropped but he was convicted of marijuana possession and turned over immigration authorities after serving his prison term.