Macron’s ex-bodyguard goes on trial over assaults

September 14, 2021 By 0 Comments

A former security aide to President Emmanuel Macron who triggered a political crisis when he was identified as having beaten up a protester during a 2018 May Day demonstration went on trial on Monday on a dozen charges, including voluntary violence, illegally wearing a police badge and carrying a weapon.

Alexandre Benalla, 30, risks up to seven years in prison and 100,000 euros ($118,000) in fines if found guilty. Benalla’s actions, and the way Macron’s office clumsily handled them, caused the French leader’s first serious presidential crisis and discredited his efforts to clean up politics.

At the heart of the controversy was Benalla’s murky role at the presidential Elysee Palace — where a police security contingent is charged with protecting the president — and whether Macron’s presidency had a hidden side with Benalla a critical player.