At the Benalla trial: “It’s my word against theirs, I’m very small”

“I’m not trying to confuse you”, pretends to apologize the president Isabelle Prévost-Desprez. But it seems clear, Thursday, September 15, at the Paris Criminal Court, that Alexandre Benalla and his former direct superior François Xavier-Lauch, who was then chief of staff at the Elysee – he now heads the cabinet of Gérald Darmanin in Ministry of the Interior – will not go on vacation together.

The court has been considering for two days the role of Alexandre Benalla at the Elysee Palace, which will lead him to go and play “observers” alongside the Parisian police on the 1er May 2018; but also to obtain, at the cost of protocol contortions or even a forgery, several sets of both diplomatic and “service” passports, after his layoff in May 2018.

The point of view of Mr. Lauch, civil party in the trial, is therefore valuable. At least in theory, because in practice, the two men agree on almost nothing. Starting with their respective rank. In title, Alexandre Benalla is in charge of mission and deputy to the chief of staff, primarily assigned to the management of the travels in France of the Head of State, under the orders of Mr. Lauch.

But according to his account, his anteriority alongside Mr. Macron, whose private trips he manages, gives him a separate role, which makes the former security agent almost the equivalent of the chief of staff. To the point of going over his head many times.

“We do not have the same conception of the hierarchy”

“I helped François-Xavier a lot in his early days, I accompanied him”, explains Benalla, who insists that “Mr. Lauch has no decision-making power.” “I am very honored with this new costume that he is carving for me. (…) We do not have the same conception of the hierarchy ”, responds the person concerned. Atmosphere.

When Alexandre Benalla, following an eventful trip to Guyana, judges that he needs better “Know these situations” and asks his police contacts to go and observe a law enforcement operation, he does not bother to talk to his superior, but goes directly to the upper echelon, that of the director of cabinet, Patrick Strzoda. “I would have appreciated to be informed”, regrets Mr. Lauch, who considers himself “Betrayed” and also wonders about the interest of the approach: “I did not conceive of his post as having to exercise police duties. “

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