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Justice

French court to rule on release of Macron’s former bodyguard from jail

Alexandre Benalla (L) stands next to French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to the Paris International Agricultural Show, 24 February 2018
Alexandre Benalla (L) stands next to French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to the Paris International Agricultural Show, 24 February 2018 Reuters/Stephane Mahe

A French court of appeal is to deliberate on Tuesday on whether to release former presidential aide, Alexandre Benalla and his associate Vincent Crase, held in custody since 20 February after breaking the conditions of their bail.

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Benalla and Crase were placed in provisional detention on 19 February after the former staffer and his associate, - a former employee of the ruling LREM party -  allegedly broke the conditions of their bail.

They are suspected of having spoken to each other in defiance of a court order concerning the investigation into violence on May 1st, 2018.

Benalla was fired in July last year after it emerged that he and his associate Vincent Crase had roughed up protesters at a May Day demonstration in Paris. Benalla was filmed wearing a police armband while officially only attending as an observer.

Today’s appeal is their second attempt to be released from detention. The first, via an emergency procedure, was rejected last Friday.

A French Senate commission last week demanded an investigation of the two men after finding "major flaws" in the government's handling of the Benalla scandal.

The commission also recommended that Benalla face further prosecution for lying to the parliamentary body during its seven-month investigation.

The scandal has caused major embarrassment for Macron, and has sparked accusations from opponents that his presidency tried to cover it up.

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