The former chargé de mission of the Elysee was sentenced this Friday, November 5, 2021 to three years in prison, including one firm for the violence of May 1, 2018.
The Paris court sentenced this afternoon Alexandre Benalla, 30, former bodyguard of Emmanuel Macron and chargé de mission at the Élysée, to three years in prison, one of which is firm accompanied by a ban on public service for five years. He was prosecuted in connection with the violence of May 1, 2018 for “voluntary violence in meeting”, “carrying a prohibited weapon” and “use of diplomatic passports”.
Two police officers of the Paris police headquarters
Alexandre Benalla was not alone on the bench of defendants. His companion Vincent Crase was sentenced to two years suspended imprisonment and a ban on carrying a weapon for ten years. He was prosecuted in particular for “violence in meeting”, “carrying a prohibited weapon” and “deletion of data” in the same case of May 1, 2018.
Alongside them on the bench of the accused, two police officers of the PP of Paris: Maxence Creusat and Laurent Simonin prosecuted for having transmitted video surveillance images to Benalla. They were sentenced to three months in prison suspended and a fine in principle without registration in the criminal record.
Barbouzes in the heart of the Republic
This case made a lot of noise in its time. Here is what we wrote on December 29, 2018:
“The name of Alexandre Benalla was made public on July 18, 2018 when the daily Le Monde revealed the identity of this particularly belligerent individual filmed at Place de la Contrescarpe, in Paris, on May 1, violently beating a couple of young protesters. He is wearing a helmet and a police armband. He is clearly seen hitting the young demonstrator. Benalla is accompanied by Vincent Crase, a reserve gendarme in charge of security for La République en Marche. Several videos posted on social networks show the two men, Benalla and Crase, acting as police officers invested with a mission to maintain order towards the demonstrators.
The newspaper Le Monde revealed in July the identity of the man who pretended to be a policeman. In reality, he was a chargé de mission at the Élysée Palace, an occasional bodyguard of Emmanuel Macron.
On July 19, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation for “violence by a person entrusted with a public service mission, usurpation of functions. Among other things. Benalla will be investigated for these charges.
We will learn later that police officers have illegally transmitted video surveillance images of the Place de la Contrescarpe to allow him to organize his defense. A case within a case.
In this summer period, public opinion is stirred by the strange role of this 29-year-old bodyguard who has been granted unheard of privileges. The public discovers that Benalla holds a weapon without authorization; that he has the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the citizen reserve of the national gendarmerie (from which he will be removed in 2017); that he is paid up to 6. 6,000 net per month; that he is about to occupy an apartment in the Quai Branly; that he has a company car with a “Police” sun visor; that he has secret-defense clearance; and that he has an access badge to the National Assembly (category H, the highest).
The gazettes also reveal that Alexandre Benalla was initiated as a Freemason in January 2017 within the lodge Les Chevaliers de l’Espérance of the French National Grand Lodge, from which he was suspended as a precautionary measure on 24 July 2018.
For observers of political life, these passes and privileges can only be explained by the close ties between Alexandre Benalla and the President of the Republic himself.
“Let them come and get me”
This is why the Benalla affair is quickly becoming an affair of state. The dysfunctions at the heart of the Élysée are admitted by Emmanuel Macron himself.
On July 22, 2018, before the parliamentarians of his majority, the President of the Republic made some astonishing remarks: “You can’t be a leader in good weather and shirk when the weather is difficult. If they want a leader, he is in front of you. Let them come and get him. And this leader answers to the French people, to the sovereign people.
Earlier, he wanted to cut short the rumors: “Alexandre Benalla has never occupied an apartment of 300 m2, Alexandre Benalla has never had a salary of 10,000 euros, Alexandre Benalla is not my lover.”
Benalla was laid off in May 2018 but with his salary maintained before being permanently removed from all duties in July. During the judicial investigation a search took place in the office of Alexandre Benalla at the Élysée. The parliamentary commissions of inquiry (Assembly and Senate) will be broadcast by television and will obtain audience records.
The Benalla affair also marks the beginning of the dizzying fall of Emmanuel Macron in the polls.
With the Yellow Vests movement initiated in mid-November 2018, Benalla disappeared from the media radar. Only now, at the end of this year quite complicated for Emmanuel Macron, a trip to Chad revives the controversy.
Indeed, on December 22 in N’Djamena, the French president discussed with his Chadian counterpart the main issues of the moment including the Barkhane force that fights against terrorism, health, women … And, curiously, Emmanuel Macron believes useful to specify to Idriss Déby that Alexandre Benalla is in no way “an official or unofficial intermediary of the Élysée.”
Why this precision? Because Benalla went to Chad two weeks earlier, in a private jet, to talk business. In what capacity? Mystery.
A few days later, the online newspaper Médiapart reveals that Benalla has two diplomatic passports. However, he affirmed, under oath, before the commission of inquiry of the Senate that he had left these documents in his office at the Élysée before leaving. In what capacity does he hold these diplomatic documents ?
The person concerned will specify that the passports were returned to him in October 2018. By whom? If Benalla is telling the truth, it is that he remained in contact with the Élysée or the Quai d’Orsay. Yet, the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, announced his intention to refer to the public prosecutor. Indeed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent, in July and September, two registered letters to Benalla asking him to return the two passports. Without effect.
This imbroglio suggests that Alexandre Benalla has never definitively broken the ties with the highest authorities of the country. And that he still enjoys a benevolent protection. How else could he travel to many African countries and meet with heads of state without the Élysée, Matignon, the Place Beauvau or the Quai d’Orsay being alerted? How could he meet the sulphurous Alexandre Djouhri in London while awaiting his extradition to France?
All this smells of parallel diplomacy and occult networks, the return of the barbouzes and expeditious methods. The exemplary Republic of Emmanuel Macron is not for tomorrow.