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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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French senator arrested on suspicion of drugging female MP

Traces of ecstasy were found in a female lawmaker’s system after she’d been served a drink by Joel Guerriau at his home

AFP – Joel Guerriau, a French senator and member of the centrist Horizons party, was arrested on Thursday amid allegations that he drugged a female MP without her knowledge or consent, after she became ill at his home, prosecutors said on Friday.

Sandrine Josso, who reports indicate has known Guerriau for more than ten years, felt unwell after accepting an alcoholic drink at the Paris home of the 66-year-old senator on Tuesday. The 48-year-old member of the National Assembly sought medical treatment and tests then revealed the presence of the drug ecstasy in her system, prompting her to file a criminal complaint, authorities in the French capital said.

Guerriau was arrested on Wednesday evening, the Paris public prosecutor’s office confirmed in a statement to Politico, on suspicion of “administering to a person, without their knowledge, a substance which may alter their judgment or control over their actions in order to commit rape or sexual assault.”

Prosecutors added that ecstasy was found at Guerriau’s home during a police raid. Guerriau has denied any wrongdoing in a statement provided by his lawyer to news agency AFP, which said “we are miles away from the obscene interpretation that one might infer from reading initial reports in the press.”

Josso is in a “state of shock” following the incident, her lawyer Julia Minkowski told AFP, adding that her client had been forced to “overcome her terror and extricate herself at the last minute from this ambush.”

Guerriau, a senator from the Loire-Atlantique district on France’s west coast – the same area as Josso’s – was first elected in 2011. His Horizons party, set up by former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s parliamentary coalition.

In 2016, Guerriau drew media attention when an image of male genitalia was published on his Twitter account. He later claimed that his account had been hacked.

French environment minister Christophe Bechu, a party colleague of Guerriau’s, told France Inter on Friday that the reports had caused “consternation and dismay” and said that the senator “obviously cannot stay on with the party” if the allegations are proven true.

If convicted, Guerriau faces up to five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 ($82,000).

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