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French actor Gerard Depardieu to be tried in October over alleged sexual assaults

French actor Gerard Depardieu to be tried in October over alleged sexual assaults
Actor Gerard Depardieu arrives for a news conference to promote the movie Saint Amour at the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany Feb 19, 2016.
PHOTO: Reuters file

PARIS — French actor Gerard Depardieu will be tried next October for alleged sexual assaults against two women during a 2021 film shoot, the Paris public prosecutor said on Monday (April 29).

Depardieu, one of France's top movie stars, has been at the centre of a growing number of sexual assault allegations in recent years that have tarnished his legacy and exposed broader divisions about sexual conduct in France.

Depardieu, who has been questioned by the police during most of the day, has consistently denied any wrongdoing. One of his lawyers, Christian Saint-Palais, told BFM TV that the actor had been released without charge.

The public prosecutor said the actor was also indicted for another case, dating back to August 2018, of alleged sexual assault and rape. The judge closed investigations on that case and has handed it over to the Paris public prosecutor.

A source told Reuters Depardieu was also accused of alleged groping on a 2014 film set.

Depardieu's case has divided the French society, with some women viewing it as a symbol of the country's inability to tackle sexual abuse by powerful men in the wake of the #Metoo movement.

Others, including French President Emmanuel Macron and several well-known actors, have rallied to Depardieu's defence.

"He's an immense actor, a genius of his art," Macron said late last year. "He makes France proud."

ALSO READ: Set designer lodges sexual assault complaint against Gerard Depardieu, lawyer says

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