Alexandre Benalla was brought to the Paris public prosecutor’s office on Friday morning to be presented to a magistrate with a view to indictment.
He was taken into custody Thursday morning as part of a preliminary investigation opened on December 29 on the use of his diplomatic passports, which was extended Wednesday to a possible forgery in writing for a service passport.
According to Me Jacqueline Laffont, his client was indicted for “public use and without right of documentary evidence of a professional quality”, but it is not prosecuted at this stage for the accusations of false administrative documents formulated by the chief of staff of the Elysée before the Senate inquiry committee.
In front of this commission, Emmanuel Macron’s chief of staff, Patrick Strzoda, revealed on Wednesday that Alexandre Benalla had used “almost twenty times” his diplomatic passports after his dismissal, between August 1st and December 31st. Patrick Strzoda also pointed out that Alexandre Benalla was in possession of two service passports, the first issued in 2016, “well before” his arrival at the presidential palace of the Elysee, the second on June 28, 2018. Both were invalidated July 31, 2018.
He added that the request for the second service passport had been made by Alexandre Benalla to the Ministry of the Interior, by a letter headed by the chief of staff of the Élysée, but “typed” and unsigned. Clearly, “we suspect a falsification made by Alexander Benalla,” said Strzoda, before stating that justice had been seized.
At the end of 24 hours of custody, Mr. Benalla appeared before a judge investigated by the prosecutor’s office of a judicial investigation also open for “breach of trust”, “false and use of false administrative document” and ” undue receipt of administrative document “.
For these three qualifications, heavier, “he was left under the status of witness assisted” intermediate between the simple witness and the indictment, added Mr. Laffont. “So we are very very happy tonight,” she told reporters in the Paris court.
The investigating magistrates will henceforth continue the preliminary investigations and may decide to indict him at a later date if they gather serious and concordant evidence. “The charges brought by Mr. Stzroda before the Senate commission were considered insufficient,” said the lawyer.
Benalla, 27, is scheduled to be heard again by the Senate’s inquiry committee on Monday, where the issue of senators’ scope of investigation will be based on the ongoing judicial inquiry.