Police placed French senator Joël Guerriau in police custody on Thursday, suspecting him of having administered ecstasy to a member of parliament without her knowledge in order to “commit rape or sexual assault”. The center-right elected official is vice-president of the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Committee within the High Assembly.
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Senator Les Indépendants (center right) from Loire-Atlantique Joël Guerriau was taken into police custody on Thursday November 16 in Paris. The politician is suspected of having drugged a member of parliament with a view to sexual assault, AFP learned from a source close to the matter, confirming information from RMC.
“We are very far from the scabrous interpretation that can be deduced from reading the first press articles”, reacted to AFP Me Rémi-Pierre Drai, lawyer for Joël Guerriau.
The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed the senator’s placement in police custody for “administering to a person, without their knowledge, a substance likely to impair their discernment or control of their actions to commit rape or sexual assault” , events which allegedly took place during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday and for which the victim, “a woman, filed a complaint”.
Several sources close to the case confirmed to AFP that this woman is an MP, but the prosecution did not wish to comment on this point.
Joël Guerriau’s lawyer was “indignant to see that elements of the investigation are found in the press”. “So either the prosecution is responsible for this and this scandalizes me once again, or the prosecution has nothing to do with it and then it must question the identity of the author of this violation and investigate.”
“Basically, I will not give any information, not only because I am bound by the secrecy of the investigation, but above all out of respect for my client and for the complainant whose name I am surprised that contrary to that of my client”, added Me Drai.
Presence of ecstasy in the body
The victim would have felt ill after having a drink on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday at the Parisian home of the senator, aged 66, with whom she did not have an intimate relationship, confirmed the public prosecutor.
Samples from her body revealed the presence of ecstasy, the Paris prosecutor’s office further confirmed, and the woman subsequently filed a complaint.
According to the prosecution, Joël Guerriau was arrested and then placed in police custody by investigators from 3e judicial police district as part of the investigation opened in flagrante delicacy, a procedure which allows him to not need to request the lifting of his parliamentary immunity.
The prosecution as well as a union source indicated that the senator had been placed in police custody on Thursday morning, while two sources close to the case indicated that the police custody had begun on Wednesday evening.
RMC mentions searches carried out at the elected official’s office but also at his home, where investigators found ecstasy, which the public prosecutor confirmed.
A banker by profession, elected to the High Assembly since 2011, Joël Guerriau is secretary of the Senate and vice-president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces.
In recent months, he has appeared a few times with former Prime Minister Édouard Philippe.
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