Desinfox. Can Gérald Darmanin reveal his SMS exchanges with Sandrine Rousseau?

The environmentalist primary candidate Sandrine Rousseau accuses the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin, who threatened to publish their SMS exchanges, to seek to intimidate her “by flouting the law”:

He is a person who is capable of putting bullying above the law because there, what he does is intimidate me by flouting the law and that is very serious when you do facing a presidential candidate

Sandrine Rousseau, on France Info, this Thursday

“He breaks the law”, according to Rousseau

“As the first police officer in France, he breaks the law on a set since the threat of publicly broadcasting private conversations is punishable by law,” she added.

Gerald Darmanin’s statements indeed caused a stir on Wednesday morning: questioned on France Inter on criticisms of the environmental candidate Sandrine Rousseau against her, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin wanted to be scathing: “Madame Rousseau, she makes people laugh at her expense, and I’m not going to add more.”


Before, however, to add: “Well, now, Madame Rousseau, she did not have the same vision of me when she came to ask me to be appointed director of the IRA of Lille when I was Minister of the Civil Service. “

Then if she wishes, we can publish the appointment requests, the appointment requests

Gérald Darmanin, Wednesday, on France Inter

“Sorry, but … are you threatening to publish text messages that she sent you?” Retorts the minister’s interlocutor in the studio, Léa Salamé.


“It’s ridiculous”, answers only Gérald Darmanin, considering that “for the rest, Madame Rousseau caricatures herself”.

Immediately, the reactions fuse: a Minister of the Interior threatens live and in public to publish the content of private exchanges. But such a threat would constitute an offense, punished with a 7,500 euros fine and 6 months in prison, according to article 222-17 of the penal code.

This article aims at the threat of committing an offense, on condition of being either reiterated or materialized by a writing, an image or any other object “against the victim. But the facts therefore Gérald Darmanin threatens Sandrine Rousseau. they, them, a misdemeanor?

A priori, not: articles 226-1 and 226-15 of the penal code, which protect privacy and the secrecy of correspondence, provide for penalties of up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros if these acts are committed “in bad faith” …

As regards the secrecy of correspondence, messages must be “addressed to third parties”. However, the minister was the recipient of said SMS, not a “third party”.

As for article 226-1, it only protects “private words” spoken, in other words oral exchanges in the face of a risk of recording.

The recipient is not bound by secrecy, except …

Darmanin being minister, can article 432-9 of the penal code then apply, causing him to incur three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros?? This text deals with these facts committed by “a person holding public authority”:

The fact, by a person holding public authority or entrusted with a public service mission, acting in the exercise or on the occasion of the exercise of his functions or his mission, of ordering, of committing or facilitate […] the revelation of the content of these correspondence is punished by three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros

Article 432-9 of the penal code

But Gérald Darmanin himself clearly specifies his quality of minister during exchanges with “Madame Rousseau”: “When I was Minister of the Public Service”, he explains, and that she was applying to take “the direction of Lille’s IRA (Regional Administration Institute) “.

But in both cases, as master lawyer Eolas assures us on Twitter, the secrecy ceases when the correspondence reaches its recipient. To which this secret is not, moreover, opposable, he specifies.

In other words, according to him, any recipient of a message can disclose its content … unless it relates to other offenses, such as those concerning exchanges of a sexual nature, for example.

Darmanin’s resignation requested

Defenders of the minister also recall that he begins his sentence with “if she wishes” – which supposes the consent of Sandrine Rousseau. This preliminary clarification should complete the protection of the minister, even if the spokesperson for Sandrine Rousseau, interviewed by Huffpost, do not read it. He mentions “a clear violation” of the law:

While Gérald Darmanin, Minister accused of rape, should never have been Minister of the Interior, it is unacceptable that France’s first cop publicly claims to be able to break the law

Thomas Portes, spokesperson for Sandrine Rousseau

Thomas Portes is therefore asking for his resignation.

“Let them get these SMS, there is no problem,” said Sandrine Rousseau on Thursday, before threatening the minister with legal action. Beyond the only legal aspects, it denounces especially the intimidation of the Minister of the Interior vis-a-vis a presidential candidate.

An investigation still open for rape

At the origin of these remarks on France Inter, the virulent declaration of Sandrine Rousseau, Sunday, against Darmanin and on which he was invited to react:

My humiliation has limits: this humiliation was when Emmanuel Macron swept aside the movement of thousands of women against gender-based violence by appointing a minister accused of rape at the head of the police.

Sandrine Rousseau Sunday

On this topic, Gérald Darmnin estimated on France Inter that “by three times the justice concluded in the total absence of infringement”.

However, this is not quite correct: accused of abuse of weakness by a resident of Tourcoing (North) claiming to be forced into sexual relations in exchange for housing and a job, Gérald Darmanin benefited from a dismissal of the case in 2018.

Accused by another woman of a rape which she said took place in 2009 as part of his duties at the UMP, Gérald Darmanin also benefited from two classifications without follow-up, in 2017 and 2018, but the complainant obtained the resumption of the investigations in June 2020.

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