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    Alexandre Benalla, French presidential aide, is seen during the May Day labour union rally in Paris, France May 1, 2018. At L, Vincent Crase, employee of LREM

    Macron Ex-Aide Says He's Ready to Testify Before Commission of Inquiry

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    On July 22, French President Emmanuel Macron’s former security aide Alexandre Benalla was placed under investigation after local newspapers identified him in the footage as the person who hit and punched a May Day demonstrator in Paris.

    In a Sunday interview with the French Journal du Dimanche (JDD), Alexandre Benalla, who was formally charged with group violence, interference in public service, the illegal wearing of a police badge and complicity in the unauthorized use of surveillance footage, claimed that he was ready for parliamentary hearings.

    READ MORE: Le Pen Backs Censure of Macron for 'Trying to Hide Facts' in Aide Assault Case

    He added that the commission of inquiry needed explanations, and he could provide them with some.

    Both the National Assembly and Senate launched parliamentary inquiries into the so-called Benallagate, with Interior Minister Gerard Colomb, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Elysee Chief of Staff Patrick Strzoda, Paris police chief Michel Delpuech and Department of Public Order and Traffic director Alain Gibelin listed among those called to testify.

    At the same time, French media outlets have been speculating that it’s unlikely that Benalla will testify: President of the Laws Committee of the National Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet, who is also a member of Macron’s governing La Republique en Marche, told the JDD that there would be “no further hearings or examination of documents” because the commission of inquiry had carried out hearings that would be “useful in search of the truth.”

    READ MORE: Benalla Scandal: 'It Will Soon Be Forgotten But Impact Could Be Damaging' — Prof

    Her remarks came amid repeated demands from both left- and right-wing opposition for new hearings at the National Assembly, as they insisted that Alexis Kohler, general secretary of the Elysee, and Christophe Castaner, Executive Officer of La Republique en Marche, also be called to testify alongside Benalla.

    “#AlexisKohler claimed under oath that #Benalla was not in charge of the president’s security. The pictures of Benalla alongside the president and Brigitte Macron, like a bodyguard, seem to suggest otherwise,” Younous Omarjee, MEP, who sits with the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, tweeted.

    Marine Le Pen, president of the party National Rally (formerly known as National Front), suggested that the Elysee and Macron’s ruling party was attempting to cover up his aide’s misconduct, which rapidly became une affaire d’etat.

    “We are facing an En Marche party that prevents the normal holding of a parliamentary commission of inquiry in order to protect the president and the general secretary of En Marche,” Le Pen tweeted.

    “The Senate demonstrates that the National Assembly’s commission of inquiry is a masquerade in the hands of En Marche party,” she added.

    Last week France’s opposition conservative party The Republicans called for a vote of no-confidence in the government, with its leader Christian Jacob saying that “the government has failed and must be held responsible in front of parliament.”

    READ MORE: Macron Slammed for 'Giving Finger’ With 'Not My Lover' Response to Bodyguard Row

    Nearly two weeks ago, Le Monde identified Benalla as the man in riot police gear in the May Day video assaulting a young demonstrator before fleeing. Preliminary charges have also been brought against his accomplice, Vincent Crase, and three police officers who are suspected of illegally passing video surveillance footage of the incident to Benalla.

    Tags:
    surveillance, police, national assembly, senate, hearing, violence, charges, inquiry, commission, investigation, security, aide, bodyguard, La Republique En Marche, Marine Le Pen, Alexandre Benalla, Emmanuel Macron, Brigitte Macron, France
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