A French appeal court must look again at whether a judge’s decision to dismiss an investigation into rape allegations against Finance Minister Gerald Darmanin was valid after prosecutors said they could not establish “absence of consent”.
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The investigation into the allegations against Darmanin, who is a President Emmanuel Macron's close political ally, was dropped in August 2018. The minister has qualified the allegations as slander. After the news was spread, he could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.
A re-opening of the investigation could harm his ambitions to stand next year in municipal elections, which will be important for Macron if he is to anchor his fledgling La Republique en Marche party at the local level.
The alleged victim accused Darmanin of coercing her into having sex in 2009 when she sought his help in having her criminal record cleared. She appealed against last year's decision but the Paris Appeal Court had said she did it too late.
The Cour de Cassation, which does not judge facts but only whether a decision by an appeal court conforms to the law, told the Appeal Court to review the judge’s initial ruling again.
The Darmanin case came at a time of heightened demand for action against predatory sexual behavior, which followed the sex scandal surrounding U.S. movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.