FILE PHOTO: Actor Gerard Depardieu poses during a photocall to promote the movie 'Saint Amour' at the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany February 19, 2016. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos
February 25, 2021
PARIS (Reuters) – French actor Gerard Depardieu strongly contests rape and sexual assault charges leveled against him, his lawyer said on Wednesday, and asked that the associated investigation be allowed to proceed away from the public eye.
Depardieu, one of France’s most famous and prolific actors, was placed under formal investigation on charges of rape and sexual violence in December last year, a judicial source told Reuters on Tuesday.
“Mr. Depardieu was indicted in December 2020, information that had remained secret since then, in accordance with French law. This information became public yesterday, which is regrettable”, lawyer Herve Temime said in a statement sent to Reuters.
“Mr. Depardieu is and remains presumed innocent. He strongly contests the accusations against him. The investigation must continue in calm, secrecy and respect for Mr. Depardieu’s presumption of innocence.”
Depardieu, 72, has starred in some 170 movies, gaining international recognition with leading roles in the English language comedy “Green Card”, and in “Cyrano de Bergerac”.
In 2019, French prosecutors said they had dropped an investigation into rape allegations against Depardieu, citing insufficient evidence.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; editing by John Stonestreet)