An investigation is underway against French senator Joël Guerriau, who is suspected of having drugged a female representative, whom he then allegedly wanted to sexually assault, wrote the .
The 66-year-old conservative senator representing the Loire-Atlantique department in western France was arrested at his home in Paris on Thursday. On Friday, charges were brought against him and he was placed under judicial supervision. According to the indictment, on Tuesday, November 14, Guerriau mixed drugs in the drink of one of the members of the House of Commons, Sandrine Josso, 48, after inviting her to his house.
According to the prosecutors, Guerriau and Josso, who is a politician in the centrist, liberal Democratic Movement, had known each other for a long time, but they did not have a close relationship. Josso told investigators he felt ill after drinking at the senator’s Paris apartment on Tuesday night. According to French television BFMTV, which cited sources close to the investigation, the deputy told police they originally wanted to meet at a restaurant, but Guerriau suggested they have dinner at his home instead.
Josso’s lawyer, Julia Minkowski, told AFP that her client felt ill after drinking a glass of champagne and saw the senator take a small plastic bag from his kitchen drawer containing some kind of white substance. “That’s when Josso realized that they were trying to stun him,” added the lawyer, who said his client was in a state of shock at the time. “It took tremendous physical and mental strength to overcome his terror and get out of this trap at the last minute,” he said. Josso was taken to the hospital for tests, which showed that he had ecstasy in his system. The representative then filed a complaint against Guerriau.
Guerriau’s lawyer, Rémi-Pierre Drai, said the senator was also charged with drug possession because investigators found ecstasy in his office. The lawyer denied that his client had intentionally assaulted the representative and claimed that a “handling error” caused the illness. The senator “will fight to prove that he never intended to give material to his colleague and longtime friend that was intended to harm him,” Drai said in a statement to the press. According to him, his client is “not a predator” and an “honest, respected and respectable person” who will restore his honor and that of his family.
Guerriau’s centre-right Horizons party, which is allied with President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party, said on Saturday it had suspended the senator with immediate effect and initiated disciplinary proceedings against him that could lead to his permanent expulsion. “The allegations, if proven, are terrible,” Environment Minister Christophe Béchu, a member of Horizon, told France Inter radio on Friday, adding that Guerriau “obviously cannot stay in the party any longer if there is any doubt”.