JUSTICE – The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed this Thursday, January 13 to have requested a dismissal for the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin, accused of rape since 2017 by Sophie Patterson-Spatz. The lawyers of the former mayor of Tourcoing (North), Me Mathias Chichportich and Pierre-Olivier Sur, indicated this Thursday to take “note of this indictment of dismissal” and wait for “the final decision of the investigating magistrate”.
Logically and unless there is a reversal, the investigating judge who placed the minister under the status of assisted witness in December 2020, then closed the case in September without initiating proceedings, should pronounce a dismissal.
A criticized appointment
Such a decision would raise a sword of Damocles weighing on Gerald Darmanin, who had been criticized since his appointment to the government in the summer of 2020 by many voices, especially feminists, still persistent today. He filed a complaint for slanderous denunciation.
The ecofeminist, Sandrine Rousseau, for example said during a debate by the environmentalist primary that it was this appointment, despite accusations of rape, that had convinced her to be a candidate.
The complainant, Sophie Patterson-Spatz, was not immediately available for comment, nor was her lawyer, Me Yann Le Bras, AFP reported. Since a first complaint in 2017, she accuses Gérald Darmanin of rape, sexual harassment and breach of trust.
The story begins in 2009, at the headquarters of the UMP, ancestor of LR, when the complainant addressed the elected official, then in charge of the legal affairs department of the party, to obtain support while she wanted to revise a 2004 conviction for blackmail and malicious calls against an ex-boyfriend.
According to her, Gérald Darmanin would have dangled his support from the Chancellery via a letter, in exchange for sexual favors that she would have accepted after a dinner and an outing in a libertine club, feeling forced to “go to the pan” , according to his expression in front of the investigators.
Key exchange of the file, on the night of December 17, 2009, Sophie Patterson-Spatz wrote him this SMS: “Abuse of his position. For my part, it’s being a dirty jerk (…) When you know the effort it took me to fuck with you. To take care of my case. ” Less than two hours later, he replies: “You’re right, I’m probably a dirty jerk. How to forgive myself?”
A first complaint dismissed
She filed a complaint for the first time in June 2017, closed without follow-up by the Paris prosecutor’s office because she did not respond to invitations from investigators. In January 2018, an investigation was opened following a new complaint from Sophie Patterson-Spatz. This is heard three days later. Summoned to a free hearing, Gérald Darmanin confirms having had a sexual relationship with her, but according to him freely consented and at the initiative of the complainant. “There was no consideration”, he assured. The investigation is closed less than a month later for “no violation”.
In March 2018, the complainant filed a complaint with a civil party and widened her accusations: breach of trust, extortion of sexual consent, fraud of sexual consent, rape, sexual harassment. An examining magistrate refused, the following August, to resume the investigations, considering the preliminary investigation already carried out sufficient to dismiss the charges.
A case taken over by a new magistrate
After long procedural disputes, the Paris Court of Appeal contradicted her, ordering in June 2020 the resumption of the investigations into this accusation of rape, considering that the investigating magistrate “could not be based solely on the results of the preliminary investigation” to make a dismissal. Since the summer of 2020, a new magistrate has taken charge of the case.
“You still have to measure what it is to be wrongly accused, of having to explain to your parents what happened because, it’s true, I had the life of a young man. ”, Explained the Minister of the Interior in July 2020 to The voice of the North.
Accused of abuse of weakness by a resident of Tourcoing who claimed to have been forced to have sexual relations in exchange for housing and a job, Gérald Darmanin, then Minister of Public Accounts, had benefited from a classification without further action. the case in 2018.
See also on Then24: #MeTooPolitique: why it is difficult to speak out