The Paris Court of Appeal confirmed on Tuesday January 24 the dismissal of the case rendered last July for the benefit of the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, accused by Sophie Patterson-Spatz of having raped her in 2009.
The Attorney General of Paris, Rémy Heitz, confirmed in a press release the meaning of this decision of the investigating chamber, which comes to clear a little more the political horizon of Gérald Darmanin by putting an end to this very sensitive file, open since 2017.
During a hearing behind closed doors on December 13, in the absence of the two protagonists, the public prosecutor’s office had requested confirmation of the dismissal. In its written submissions, the public prosecutor ruled out “the hypothesis of false or malicious accusations” of Sophie Patterson-Spatz, but considered that “it cannot be considered that (she) did not consent to the act sexual”.
First rape complaint filed in spring 2017
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Me Élodie Tuaillon-Hibon, on the contrary evoked a “surprise rape” and an “extorted” sexual relationship, “neither free nor consented”. The lawyer had expressed her wish to have “finally the right to a little justice”, because “the incriminating elements for the rape are present in the file”.
Minister Gérald Darmanin in turmoil after an accusation of rape
The lawyers for the Minister of the Interior, Mes Pierre-Olivier Sur and Mathias Chichportich, did not wish to react.
Sophie Patterson-Spatz, 50, filed a first complaint for rape against Gérald Darmanin in the spring of 2017, for facts which allegedly occurred in Paris in 2009. She had decided to file a complaint after the arrival of the government of that -this. After investigations closed three times and procedural disputes, Sophie Patterson-Spatz had obtained in the summer of 2020 the appointment of an investigating judge to examine her charges.
The complainant considers that she was forced
In 2009, the complainant contacted Gérald Darmanin, then project manager in the legal affairs department of the UMP (which has since become LR), to obtain support when she wanted to have a 2005 conviction for blackmail and malicious calls to an ex-companion.
According to her, he had dangled his possible support during an evening via a letter that he undertook to write to the chancellery, and had asked in exchange for a sexual relationship. The Complainant and the Minister both acknowledge a sexual relationship.
But Sophie Patterson-Spatz believes she was forced to “go to the pan” with Gérald Darmanin when the latter, then 26 years old, allegedly said to her: “You too will have to help me. For his part, the Minister of the Interior claims to have “given in to the charms” of an “enterprising” complainant.
An exchange of text messages between them nine months later is at the heart of the case. Sophie Patterson-Spatz wrote to him: “Abuse of his position. For my part, it’s being a dirty con (…) When you know the effort it took me to fuck with you. To take care of my case. Gérald Darmanin replies: “You’re right, I’m probably a dirty prick. How to forgive myself ? »
The investigating judge had placed Gérald Darmanin under the status of assisted witness in December 2020 then confronted the minister and the complainant for nine hours the following March, before dismissing the case.
In her July order, she noted like the public prosecutor’s office that “the sincerity of the statements” of Sophie Patterson-Spatz as to a rape “cannot be called into question”. But she added that the complainant had “deliberately chosen to have a sexual relationship with him in order to see his criminal case retried”.
“Quiet as the Baptist”
Gérald Darmanin “could legitimately be mistaken about the intentions” of the complainant even if, in the SMS, “he implicitly admits that he was able to take advantage of the situation”, advanced the investigating judge. “The law is not to be confused with morality”, she had however considered, considering that the complainant was “consenting under the law”.
In July 2020, Gérald Darmanin said he was “quiet as a Baptiste” regarding these accusations, citing facts dating back to his “life as a young man”.
A resident of Tourcoing (North) had also accused the Minister of the Interior of having forced her to have sex in exchange for housing and a job. The investigation was closed in 2018.
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