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Ex-Macron Aide Convicted of Assault and Posing as a Police Officer

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PARIS — A former safety aide to President Emmanuel Macron of France was discovered responsible on Friday of assaulting protesters and posing as a police officer at a labor demonstration in 2018, in a case that precipitated the administration’s first main scandal and led to intense criticism of Mr. Macron’s governing fashion.

The former aide, Alexandre Benalla, 30, was sentenced by a court docket in Paris to a few years in jail, one of them beneath home arrest with digital monitoring, and the 2 others suspended, that means he won’t serve them except he commits a new crime inside a given timeframe and a court docket orders that the complete sentence be served.

Mr. Benalla was additionally fined 500 euros, or about $460, and barred from working as a civil servant for 5 years.

Mr. Benalla had been in cost of safety throughout Mr. Macron’s 2017 presidential marketing campaign and turned an aide to his deputy chief of employees after the election. He was half of the French chief’s internal circle, accompanying him on official visits, biking journeys, tennis matches and different outings.

But in July 2018, Mr. Benalla was recognized by the newspaper Le Monde in a video that confirmed him carrying a police helmet as he grabbed, dragged and hit a man throughout an unruly labor protest in Paris, on May 1 that 12 months.

The report, and the presidency’s fumbling response, precipitated a firestorm of criticism that fed months of media protection and parliamentary inquiries, severely testing Mr. Macron for the primary time since his election. It was shortly revealed that the presidency had recognized concerning the beating for months however had disciplined Mr. Benalla with little greater than a slap on the wrist.

Coming on the heels of different controversies involving Mr. Macron — together with influence-peddling accusations in opposition to a shut aide, a dust-up over an costly new dinner service, and his public scolding of a pupil — the case gave his political opponents ammunition to painting the French president as out of contact and his administration as opaque.

At the trial, held in September, Mr. Benalla acknowledged a lapse in judgment however denied assault.

Mr. Benalla had joined safety forces as an observer on the day of the demonstration and he argued that he had been attempting to assist officers apprehend protesters who had thrown objects on the police. But the court docket dominated that he had illegally and violently interfered with police work and assaulted 4 protesters in whole.

Mr. Benalla, who now works as a personal guide, was additionally discovered responsible of illegally utilizing diplomatic passports that he had stored after he was fired from the president’s workplace, of faking paperwork to acquire one other type of official cross, and of illegal possession of a firearm in 2017.

Vincent Crase, 48, a buddy of Mr. Benalla and a former reservist gendarme who used to work for Mr. Macron’s celebration — and who confronted fees much like Mr. Benalla’s for his actions in May 2018 — was additionally convicted, as have been two law enforcement officials who had despatched Mr. Benalla video footage of the incident pulled from road surveillance cameras.