FRANCE – French authorities are interrogating a senator arrested under suspicion of drugging a lower house MP with alleged intentions of assault, causing a stir in France’s parliament.
Joel Guerriau, a centrist senator from western France, was apprehended after an alleged attempted assault against MP Sandrine Josso, according to a source familiar with the case as quoted by AFP.
He faces accusations of administering a substance to diminish judgment or self-control for potential sexual assault or rape, as stated by prosecutors.
Josso fell unwell after accepting a drink at the senator’s Paris home, prompting a criminal complaint when tests revealed ecstasy in her system.
Authorities overrode parliamentary immunity to detain Guerriau, conducting searches at his office and residence where ecstasy was found, as confirmed by prosecutors.
Both the accused senator and the alleged victim were jointly questioned for two hours by investigators.
Josso’s lawyer detailed the incident where she felt unwell after drinking champagne and witnessed the senator handling a small plastic bag.
She described overcoming terror during the alleged incident and feeling betrayed as Guerriau was a trusted friend.
Guerriau’s lawyer emphasized his client’s vehement denial of any wrongdoing, countering initial press interpretations.
Reacting to the incident, Environmental minister Christophe Bechu, a leading figure in the Horizons party of which Guerriau is a member, on Friday told broadcaster France Inter that “of course he won’t be able to stay if there is the slightest doubt”.
Party chiefs would hold a meeting early Saturday “where we’ll have the opportunity to discuss this situation,” he added.
Guerriau “will have to face the consequences if the least of this is true,” Bechu said.