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The lawyer at the center of the controversy over the sex video of Macron's candidate in Paris


Juan Branco advised the Russian artist Piotr Pavlenski before spreading the images that shot down Benjamin Griveaux, a candidate for mayor of the capital

Juan Branco comes from the same world as Emmanuel Macron and the small group of thirties well prepared with those who three years ago conquered power by surprise. The Spanish-French lawyer is a perfect product of the same factory of the Republican aristocracy. Educated in the best schools and universities, you dress like them, talk like them, reason like them. With one difference: he considers that Macron and his people take France “to the abyss”, that “they only formally respect [the] democratic system”, and that “they have violated [the] democratic and republican principles.” He predicts that the result of this situation can only be "or the authoritarian tightening of the regime, to excess, or its collapse."

All this is written by Branco in Crépuscule (Twilight), the antimacronian pamphlet published in 2019 of which he has sold 150,000 copies. Today he is at the center of the controversy over the dissemination of the sexual video that has caused the fall of one of these children prodigy of macronism: Benjamin Griveaux, who until Friday morning was a candidate for mayor of Paris. Hours after the video began to circulate, he abandoned the campaign.

Branco (Estepona, 1989) is the son of Spanish psychoanalyst Dolores López and Portuguese film producer Paulo Branco, who has worked with Wim Wenders, Manoel de Oliveira and Raul Ruiz. He was educated at the Alsatian School of Paris, nursery of the elites, and studied at the prestigious Sciences-Po and the exclusive Superior Normal School. At 30, he has worked for ministerial cabinets and has been a candidate for legislative elections for the populist leftist party La Francia Insumisa.

Now, and waiting for a dispute to be resolved with the Prosecutor's Office, he tries to act as a lawyer for Piotr Pavlenski, the Russian artist and activist who claimed responsibility for the dissemination of the video. Pavlenski consulted with Branco before publishing the video on the Web. Griveaux had allegedly sent it in 2018, when he was a spokesman for the Government, to Alexandra de Taddeo, a woman who is currently a Pavlenski couple.

Both - Pavlenski and Taddeo - are being detained, waiting for the investigating judge to decide if they are charged with “attempted privacy of privacy” and “dissemination of images of a sexual nature without the agreement of the people” . Branco forms with Pavlenski and Taddeo "a trio without faith or law," according to Le Monde on Monday, which has turned the campaign for the municipalities in March upside down. According to Le Monde , Griveaux knows that his enemies possess other compromising images.

In the Branco & Asociados law firm, Branco - who has been a lawyer for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, today in prison - explains to EL PAÍS that in November he met Pavlenski, 35, and Taddeo, 29, during the preparations for an international conference on technology in Lisbon.

In December, Branco attended a Pavlenski talk at the Sorbonne. Pavlenski, an opponent of Vladimir Putin, was known for his radical performances : in Russia he had sewn his lips or stuck his scrotum in the Red Square; In France, where he lives as a refugee since 2017, he burned a headquarters of the Bank of France in the square of La Bastilla. “I invited him to a New Year's party because I saw that he was under-socialized,” says Branco. The New Year's party ended badly, with Pavlenski involved in a brawl in which he apparently assaulted other people with a knife.

At that time, Branco recalls, Pavlenski revealed that he was preparing "a great action." "They kept it very secret until about ten days or two weeks before," he adds. "At one point [Pavlenski and Taddeo] told me: 'We are prepared, we must see each other.'" He told him about the video, they showed it to him. He warned them of possible local consequences and illustrated them about the French cultural context, where in general the private life of politicians is respected. "Are you sure?" He says he asked them.

The question of authenticity - that is, if the images belonged to Griveaux - was resolved by Griveaux when he resigned after the video was broadcast. The manipulation is more complex.

Russian specialist Galia Ackerman, translator of a Pavlenski book, has suggested that it could be what in Russia they call a kompromat . “All this reminds me of the old Soviet techniques. Young women and men were used to trap politicians and obtain compromising material against them, ”says Ackerman in the Le Parisien newspaper.

Branco rejects this hypothesis. "From what I saw of them, it was a very amateur thing," he says. "There was no machinery behind."

It was the result of a plan studied to demolish a key figure of macronism or an improvisation that escaped from the hands of its architects, the truth is that, for Branco, attacking the Macron system has been a long-term objective. Griveaux, to whom he dedicates a chapter of Crépuscule , was considered a pillar of that system. On January 5, 2019, he attended, during a demonstration of yellow vests, the demolition of the door of the ministry where Griveaux then exercised.

"I thought it was a beautiful gesture," he says. And, it could be added, a prolegomenon of the real fall, a year later, of Macron's friend: objective achieved.

Source: elparis

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