Accused of rape, French filmmaker Luc Besson placed under the status of assisted witness

Accused of rape, French filmmaker Luc Besson placed under the status of assisted witness

PARIS | The French filmmaker and producer Luc Besson, accused of rape by the Belgian-Dutch actress Sand Van Roy, was placed on Monday under the status of witness assisted at the end of his hearing by an examining magistrate, announced to the AFP his lawyer.

In French law, the status of assisted witness is intermediate between that of witness and that of indictment.

“This decision confirms once again that the facts alleged against Luc Besson have no basis”, welcomed Me Thierry Marembert, confirming information from Le Point magazine.

“It comes after a first classification without follow-up in February 2019 and requisitions against the opening of judicial information by a deputy prosecutor of the Paris prosecutor’s office,” he recalled.

No judicial source was able to confirm Monday evening to AFP the outcome of this summons of Mr. Besson for a first appearance questioning.

Solicited, Ms. Van Roy and her lawyer, Me Francis Szpiner, had not yet reacted.

In this case, Sand Van Roy had filed a rape complaint on May 18, 2018 against the influential 60-year-old French producer and director the day after a meeting with him at the Bristol, a Parisian palace.

Two months later, she had denounced other rapes and sexual assaults committed, according to her, during two years of a “professional relationship of influence” with the producer.

These complaints were dismissed on February 25, 2019 by the Paris prosecutor’s office, who felt they could not “characterize the offense denounced in all its constituent elements”.

The actress had then filed a new complaint with the constitution of civil party, which had led to the opening of a judicial investigation on October 2, 2019 for “rapes”. The Paris public prosecutor’s office had told the judge to be opposed to this relaunch of the investigations.

Luc Besson, who disputes these accusations, was heard in open hearing by the police in October 2018, then confronted with his accuser in December.

Eight other women had subsequently accused the director of “Big Blue” of inappropriate gestures, even sexual assault, in testimonies collected by Mediapart, for largely prescribed facts.

“I have never raped a woman in my life. I never raised a hand on a woman. I have never threatened a woman. I have never physically or morally constrained a woman to anything, ”he said in October 2019.

Father of five children, Mr. Besson is also an influential businessman, at the origin of the creation of the Cité du cinema in the north of Paris.

He is one of the French figures caught in the wave of accusations of women claiming to have been victims of rape or sexual assault, after the fall of American producer Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.

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