French senator under investigation on suspicion of drugging MP

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A French senator has been placed under formal investigation over suspicions that he drugged a member of parliament with the intention to sexually abuse her, the senator’s lawyer and the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

Conservative senator Joel Guerriau, 66, is under investigation for administering to MP Sandrine Josso, 48, “a substance liable to alter her discernment or control over her actions, in order to commit rape or sexual aggression, as well as for possession and use of substances classified as drugs,” Guerriau’s lawyer Remi-Pierre Drai told Reuters late on Friday.

In a separate statement, Guerriau denied the charges.

“My client will fight (to) prove that he has never wanted to administer to his colleague and longtime friend a substance to abuse her,” his lawyer said in a statement cited by French broadcaster BFM.

Josso’s lawyer Julia Minkowski has told French media that the MP for ruling coalition party Modem had felt ill after drinking a glass of champagne at Guerriau’s flat this week and had seen him handling a small plastic bag with a white substance, leading her to believe her drink had been spiked.

It was not clear why Josso was in the senator’s flat at the time of the alleged incident.

Josso or her lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Paris prosecutor confirmed late on Friday that an investigation has been opened, adding that Guerriau had been placed under judicial control and is not allowed to contact Josso or witnesses.

A spokesman for the senator’s conservative Horizons party, which is also part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling coalition, told Radio France Info on Saturday that Guerriau had been suspended with immediate effect.

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