Rape allegations: Gérald Darmanin was confronted with the complainant for nine hours

The main Gérald Darmanin appeared before the Paris court this Friday. The Home Secretary was confronted by Sophie Patterson-Spatz, the woman who accused him of rape. The hearing lasted nine hours.

For the first time, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin was confronted this Friday in front of an examining magistrate with the woman who had accused him of rape since 2017, Sophie Patterson-Spatz, before the Paris court. The minister, who was placed under assistant witness status in mid-December in this case, has been charged with rape, sexual harassment and breach of trust. The confrontation with his accuser Sophie Patterson-Spatz lasted about nine hours.

In a press release sent shortly before 11:30 pm, the minister’s lawyers, Me Pierre-Olivier Sur and Me Mathias Chichportich, were delighted that “Gérald Darmanin has retained the status of an assistant witness at the end of this confrontation” to them according to “evidence that no serious or consistent evidence has been charged with a crime”. They were asked for advice by Sophie Patterson-Spatz and did not answer.

A long litigation battle

The investigation into these facts from 2009 was resumed this summer by an examining magistrate after a long litigation battle. The judge reassigned Gerald Darmanin to assistant witness status on December 14, a status that may evolve towards indictment during the trial if the judge gathers “serious or consistent evidence”.

In March 2009, the complainant turned to the elected official who was then in charge of the legal department of the UMP (ancestor of LR) in an attempt to reverse a 2004 conviction of extortion and malevolent appeal to the court. Companion. According to her, Gerald Darmanin received his support from the firm via a letter in return for sexual favors that she would have accepted and felt compelled to “go into the pan,” she said before investigators.

For the first time, she filed a complaint in June 2017, which was dismissed by the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office because the complainant did not respond to invitations from investigators. In January 2018, an investigation was opened following a new complaint from Sophie Patterson-Spatz. This can be heard three days later. Gérald Darmanin was summoned to a free hearing and confirmed that he had had a sexual relationship with Sophie Patterson-Spatz, but freely and on the initiative of the applicant said to him: “There was no consideration”. The investigation is closed less than a month later for “no infringement”.

Resumption of investigations in 2020

In March 2018, the applicant filed a complaint with a civil party and expanded her allegations: breach of trust, extortion of sexual consent, fraud of sexual consent, rape, sexual harassment. An examining magistrate declined to reopen the investigation the following August, as the preliminary investigation was sufficient to dismiss the charges.

After lengthy procedural disputes, the Paris Court of Appeals ordered the reopening of the investigation into this rape allegation in June 2020, as the investigating judge “could not rely solely on the results of the preliminary investigation” to obtain a release before a new investigation.

A new judge took care of the case this summer.

No consideration

“You still have to measure what it means to be wrongly accused of having to explain to your parents what happened because I had the life of a young man,” Gérald Darmanin told La Voix du Nord in July.

Gérald Darmanin, whose appointment as Minister of the Interior had been criticized by feminists mainly because of this case, filed a lawsuit for defamatory denunciation. Prior to the confrontation, several sources familiar with the matter indicated that the judge did not appear to be convinced that the facts could be criminally classified as “rape”. This did not prevent a close friend of Gerald Darmanin’s recent concern about allegations that, given the length of the trial and possible appeals on either side that could “seal” his career policy, could endure.

Gérald Darmanin is not the only French personality caught in the wave of îMeToo, which started in autumn 2017 with the unveiling of the numerous rapes and sexual assaults on actresses by American producer Harvey Weinstein. The actor Gérard Depardieu was charged on December 16 with “raping” a young actress, while the director Christophe Ruggia and the President of the National Cinema Center, Dominique Boutonnat, were charged with “sexual assault”.

The media and sports circles are also affected. The Swiss Islamologist Tariq Ramadan, the former flagship moderator of TF1 JT Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, the model agent Jean-Luc Brunel or even the skate trainer Gilles Beyer are therefore affected by similar allegations. All disputes.