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French prosecutor opens investigation into sexting scandal



The Paris prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation Tuesday into the online publication of sexually explicit content that led to the downfall of French politician Benjamin Griveaux, French media reported.

Griveaux, the candidate for Paris mayor of President Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche party in France’s upcoming municipal elections, withdrew from the race on Friday over the sexting allegations.

Russian activist Piotr Pavlenski and Alexandra de Taddeo, reportedly Pavlenski’s girlfriend and the initial recipient of the graphic messages, are due to appear in front of a judge later on Tuesday to face possible charges — of invasion of privacy and publishing sexually explicit images without consent.

Pavlenski and de Taddeo were arrested over the weekend and brought in for questioning by French police. Pavlenski, a Russian performance artist, admitted to publishing the video in a statement to Libération, claiming he wanted to expose the “hypocrisy” of Griveaux, who is married.

Prosecutors also opened an investigation into an alleged knife fight involving Pavlenski at a New Year’s Eve party.

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