(Bloomberg) -- An investigation into accusations of rape against French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin could end without him being charged, according to Agence France-Presse.
The investigative judge in charge of the case has wrapped up the probe into allegations Darmanin raped a woman in 2009 without pressing any charges, suggesting that they will be dismissed, AFP reported on Tuesday, without saying where it got the information.
Darmanin has always said the encounter was consensual, and denies the accusations made in the complaint, which also includes sexual harassment and abuse of trust. He has filed his own lawsuit for defamation.
Emmanuel Macron promoted Darmanin to interior minister in July 2020 and he has since become the public face of the president’s renewed focus on security, voicing uncompromising support of police forces, vowing to root out extremists and defend France’s unique form of secularism, laicite.
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The accuser can still ask for additional investigative steps to be conducted and start proceedings with the appeal court, according to L’Obs.
The complaint against Darmanin had already been dismissed by an investigative judge in 2018, but the case was reopened last year after the Paris appeals court said the magistrate should have conducted their own inquiry instead of relying solely on prosecutors’ findings.
Some people close to Macron have voiced discomfort with Darmanin’s appointment, and feminist groups demonstrated during his first weeks as interior minister.
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