“What is certain is that it is a dummy weapon”, says the former Elysee mission manager

At the Paris judicial court,

Law student, Alexandre Benalla dreamed of embracing the career of police commissioner. “But that was not done …”, regrets today at the bar the ex-charge of mission of the Elysee. A few years later, in July 2018, he was identified by the newspaper The world on a video where he appeared with a helmet of the police, brutalizing a woman and a man on Place de la Contrescarpe in Paris, at the end of a day of demonstration enamelled with clashes. Now 30 years old, he is on trial for these facts since Monday in Paris, but also for having fraudulently used diplomatic passports after his dismissal from the Elysee Palace, and for having illegally carried a weapon in April 2017 in Poitiers, during Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign.

Navy blue suit, black tie and red polka dots, Alexandre Benalla answered, for nearly three hours, the questions of the president, Isabelle Prévost-Desprez. After having recalled at length the facts which are reproached to the four defendants, the magistrate was surprised that during the investigation, the former assistant to the chief of staff of the presidency could have had “disrespectful behavior”. On reading certain documents in the file, she said, “we say to ourselves” but who does he think he is! ” “. She recalls in particular that, during the search of his home in Issy-les-Moulineaux, he refused to communicate his companion’s number to investigators. “I did not see the relationship she could have with the facts, with the investigation launched with a bang under media pressure,” he explains, stressing that he wanted to protect her.

“Inappropriate attitude”

At the time, he was “surprised” to learn that an investigation had been opened after the events of May 1, 2018. “I had the impression that I had done something positive for society, that is. that is to say, arrest delinquents, ”seriously assures the former close collaborator of Emmanuel Macron. This did not prevent him, he dares, from having been “very collaborative” with the police. However, one always wonders why he had the safe containing his weapons which were in his apartment moved during the night. “My home was easily identifiable,” he maintains. Before adding: “I could be targeted by people with bad intentions”. Even if he claims to have handed over the weapons to justice, an investigation is still underway on the disappearance of this safe.

“For someone who wanted to be a police commissioner”, isn’t that an “inappropriate attitude? »Asks Isabelle Prévost-Desprez. “No, I don’t think so,” replies Alexandre Benalla, who refutes any “provocation”. How then to qualify the photo, projected in the courtroom, at which he points what looks like a gun on the head of a woman taking a selfie? This is “a silly skit” with “a false weapon”, he defends himself. The photo, revealed by Mediapart, was taken in April 2017, in Poitiers. However, before October 13, 2017, he was not authorized to carry a weapon outside his home or the premises of En Marche, underlines Isabelle Prévost-Desprez who loses his temper. “Excuse me for the term, but a joker who plays with a water pistol” and who is responsible for the security of a presidential candidate, “there is like a lag”.

“The gesture is silly”

“This photo, it is not good”, agrees Alexandre Benalla. “The gesture is silly, what is certain is that it is a dummy weapon”, he insists. He has never “taken out of the campaign headquarters” the weapons held by the party, nor from his home those he possessed, swears the defendant who faces up to seven years in prison and 100,000 euros fine. The trial is scheduled to last until October 1.


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