How French interior minister Gérald Darmanin shifted his line of defence in rape claim probe

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Mediapart has had access to new information in the current investigation into rape allegations against France's interior minister Gérald Darmanin, claims that date back to 2009. Some documents we have seen contradict parts of his defence. The file also shows that when he was questioned by the investigating judge in mid-December 2020 the minister - who denies the claims - changed his version of events over a key exchange of SMS messages, in which the complainant accuses him of having “abused his position”. And in addition the minister gave new explanations to justify some of the more embarrassing aspects of the case. Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

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It is one of two cases involving alleged abuse of power which have dogged interior minister Gerald Darmanin since he became a member of the French government under President Emmanuel Macron. A complaint by a woman called Sophie Patterson-Spatz, which was dropped without charge in February 2018, was re-opened in June 2020 and is now the subject of a judicial investigation for alleged “rape”. The probe is being led by investigating judge Mylène Huguet.