PARIS – A German journalist has accused former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of repeatedly grabbing her during an interview, and filed a sexual assault complaint with Paris prosecutors, according to French and German news reports.
Giscard’s French lawyer said Thursday that the 94-year-old former president “retains no memory” of the incident. Giscard was president of France from 1974-1981.
German broadcaster WDR reported Wednesday night that it investigated the alleged misconduct after the journalist interviewed Giscard for WDR in December 2018.
The journalist said Giscard grabbed her buttocks three times and she tried to push his hand away, according to reports by French daily Le Monde and German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung.
WDR said it asked lawyers to investigate, and then sent a protest letter to Giscard last year saying, “we cannot tolerate our employees being confronted with such situations.”
The journalist filed a legal complaint this March with Paris prosecutors, the reports said. The prosecutor’s office would not comment Thursday.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Giscard’s lawyer Jean-Marc Fedida suggested possible legal retaliation “against a particularly undignified and offensive media (attack)" around the accusation.
According to Le Monde, the journalist didn’t file a complaint right away because she didn’t understand enough about the French justice system, but later changed her mind in part thanks to inspiration from the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.