For this last day of the sextape trial, lawyers for Benzema, Zenati and Zouaoui were able to defend their client’s cause. All are demanding the release. Even if the possibility of a verdict given in the wake existed, it will finally be delivered on November 24. Story of this final hearing.
By Léo Tourbe, in Versailles
Table tennis is a ruthless sport. Especially when it is verbal and played on a floor. After the two pleadings of the day before, given by Me Emmanuel Molina, lawyer for Axel Angot, the one who obtained the sextape from Valbuena’s cellphone, and Mr.e Tewfik Bouzenoune, who defends the interests of Younès Houass, intermediary between the blackmailers and the player of Olympiakos, this last day opens with that of Karim Benzema’s lawyers. First, Me Antoine Vey monopolizes the microphone. “What interests the French? Sex, money, football? Probably not the judiciary. It is especially diving in this world ” , he explains. “My client did not come today because he is like everyone else” , he then justifies, implying his professional obligations, but also the difficulty of facing a court.
“I was going to end by saying that Valbuena reacted a bit like he did on the pitch, where he tended to exaggerate. ” Me Cormier, Benzema lawyer
Valbuena’s behavior questions
After explaining that footballers with such notoriety do not live in the same world as ordinary people, he sets out to demonstrate that Mathieu Valbuena’s feelings are also and above all the result of “A very dependent investigation” . “In this case, there was a form of manipulation! ” , he exclaims. Me Antoine Vey highlights the fact that Valbuena, informed on October 4, 2015 by investigators that an emissary would come to meet him during the gathering at Clairefontaine, did not report on his conversation on the 6th with Karim Benzema, said emissary. . “We are in something crazy” , rants the avocado. Mathieu Valbuena actually waited until the end of November, more than a month and a half after his discussion with the Madrilenian, to express doubts about the latter’s intentions. However, he had already been questioned at the end of October, before Benzema was taken into custody, where he did not even touch on the content of this conversation. A behavior which leads M to deducee Vey that if Valbuena had really felt so threatened, he would have communicated it within a minute to the investigators, who had warned him without revealing that it would be Benzema, as he had already done previously when Houass called him in June.
“Of course he shouldn’t have done it. Obviously he is not of absolute benevolence ” , he concedes about his client. He then concludes by confident that it is very difficult for him “To hear that he should not be judged like everyone else” . An obvious reference to the requisition of prosecutors on Thursday. Me Sylvain Cormier, Benzema’s second lawyer, takes over, making some criticisms of Valbuena. After describing the famous sextape as a video taken as a selfie while the two protagonists of it perform “A position called” doggy style “” , he wonders if the girl was not filmed without his knowledge. “Valbuena is first and foremost a victim of its own actions” , he blurted out, much more intransigent than his colleague, by his own admission. He also regrets that “Nobody has ever expressed the slightest regret towards this woman” . The lawyer insists, like his predecessor, on the fact that the threatening side of his client was only the feelings of Valbuena, delivered long after their meeting. Then, he shoots a new arrow in the direction of the alleged victim: “I was going to end by saying that Valbuena reacted a bit like he did on the pitch, where he tended to exaggerate. ” But he changed his mind, assuming the 37-year-old attacking midfielder was “Overwhelmed by the case” . They demand the release of Benzema.
Justice taken hostage
It is then the turn of Me Emmanuel Mercinier-Pantalacci, lawyer of Karim Zenati, the childhood friend of Benzema, to plead, after having stretched for a long time during the previous intervention. He comes to the bar, as if to play his client. A desire corroborated by his use of the first person singular when talking about his client. His main defense? That Zenati never spoke to Valbuena and therefore never threatened the latter. “By definition, blackmail starts with a statement” , he recalls. Relying on the fact that Zenati was cheated by Zouaoui regarding their leather goods business, he wonders why he shouldn’t have been cheated about the sextape either. “If the thesis of the civil party was strong enough, why do things up? , asserts the lawyer who was surprised that his client’s case had not been reclassified as “Complicity in attempted blackmail” by the prosecution the day before. For him, nothing shows that he was more than an accomplice. “You have to relax me” , he finished.
After lunch, the last argument of the defense and of this trial is that of Mr.e Serge Money, lawyer for Mustapha Zouaoui, known as “Sata”. The most controversial accused, accused of being the mastermind of the case, it is obviously this plea which was the longest of all, lasting more than an hour. Having intervened very little during the two previous days, when Sata seemed to sink all alone, he justifies that he “Seemed relevant to let it be totally him” . Me Money admits all the same to have, at times, been “Very uncomfortable and wanted to go underground” . His monologue starts off at a slow pace, pushing other lawyers, prosecutors, and journalists not to necessarily have their eyes fixed on him. But gradually, the verb rises, the intonation too, with the arguments that go with it.
If he does not deny the questionable behavior of his client, blowing that “Even if he says nothing or does nothing, we want to hit him” , he reproaches with irony the requisition of the Public Prosecutor’s Office: “We can take him four years!” No one will miss him ” , he argues, making large gestures whose frequency will increase. All that “Just because we don’t like it” . “There is nothing more unbearable than being judged for the image we have of you” , he warns. Stating that Zouaoui has never asked for money, nor threatened Valbuena, even through intermediaries, he explains that justice could be held hostage. All because the ” conspiracy ” was rejected during the investigation and that “Attempted blackmail” is therefore not necessarily the right charge to condemn Sata. He then claims the release, hoping that his client does not pay for his divisive personality. Once the plea is finished, the president airs the court by announcing that the verdict is under deliberation and will be delivered on Wednesday, November 24 at 9:30 am at the Versailles court. Five days before the Golden Ball. Fortunately for Benzema, the votes end on Sunday.
By Léo Tourbe, in Versailles