French budget chief under pressure after rape accusation

AP News
Posted: Jan 29, 2018 8:28 AM
French budget chief under pressure after rape accusation

PARIS (AP) — Pressure is mounting on a member of French President Emmanuel Macron's government accused of rape.

Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin strongly denies wrongdoing, and other government members have rallied around him. Darmanin is the highest-ranking French official accused of sexual misconduct since the Hollywood scandals that broke last year.

Nearly 3,000 people signed an online petition launched by a feminist group urging the prime minister to fire Darmanin. It argues that ministers facing corruption investigations have lost their jobs in the past, and asks whether being accused of a sexual crime "is less serious."

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe's office said Monday that he continues to have confidence in Darmanin.

A preliminary investigation is underway into an accusation that Darmanin raped her when she sought legal help in 2009.