When the Griveaux affair turns into a judicial micmac. Questioned on Monday on BFMTV, lawyer Juan Branco repeated having "accompanied Piotr Pavlenski as a lawyer" and said "continues [r] to do so". A statement that still causes trouble around the uncertain defense of the Russian opponent behind the sex videos implicating Benjamin Griveaux.
The President of Paris said Monday, during a press conference, open, in agreement with the lawyer, "an ethical investigation to find out if he is able, given the elements of the file not known to date, to represent him in the best of his interests ”.
My colleague Branco indicated to me that he was the lawyer designated by Mr. Pavlenski. We open, in agreement with him, an ethical investigation to know if he is able, taking into account the elements of the file not known to date, to represent him in the best of his interests. pic.twitter.com/lpSaXdD5N1- Bâtonnier of Paris (@batonnierparis) February 17, 2020
Sunday, Juan Branco, lawyer and activist close to the extreme left movements had announced under the cameras, to be excluded from the defense of the Russian opponent. "The prosecution has just taken an extraordinary decision, it opposes that I represent my client" he had affirmed, condemning an "unprecedented and very serious infringement of the rights of the defense".
"It was made clear to me that I was in no way implicated in this file, but because I was cited, the prosecution considered that there was a new sprain to be implemented against the defense of Piotr Pavlenski, ”he added, saying he was“ outraged ”.
Griveaux case: repossession of Piotr Pavlenski's file, Juan Branco denounces "an infringement of the rights of the defense" pic.twitter.com/CTBkJ1TXvX- BFMTV (@BFMTV) February 16, 2020
A few hours after his statement, several lawyers were already highlighting on Twitter the confusion expressed by Branco: namely, the prosecution has no jurisdiction to remove a lawyer from a file. "This is simply impossible, the prosecution cannot intervene at this level," confirms to the Parisian, Céline Parisot, president of the Union of Magistrates' Union (USM). And for good reason, either the lawyer retracts from himself, or the president asks the latter to withdraw. It would therefore be the second hypothesis in the case of Juan Branco.
Too involved in the case?
The president of the bar can effectively request that a file be divested "if there is a conflict between the interests of his clients or, unless the parties agree, if there is a serious risk of such a conflict", as the article 4 of the national internal regulations of the legal profession.
As a reminder, the name of the lawyer did appear in the file targeting activist Piotr Pavlenski. The political refugee is suspected of having slightly injured two people on New Years Eve. An evening he would have spent in a Parisian apartment in the company of ... Branco himself.
Newsletter - The essentials of the newsEvery morning, the news seen by Le Parisien
Your email address is collected by Le Parisien to allow you to receive our news and commercial offers. Find out more
The lawyer and figure of the Yellow Vests movement is also linked to Alexandra De Taddeo, Pavlenski's partner. The trio was also seen on several photos taken in the evening before the case broke out.
Branco's status to be clarified
But to be excluded from a file, it must still have been seized. Doubts remain indeed about the role officially held by Branco vis-à-vis the Russian opponent. Concretely, he would have been "consulted" by Piotr Pavlenski "before putting the videos online", Wednesday, as he indicated in Le Point. “He consulted me as a lawyer. I understood that, for him, it was a political act. In the same way that he opposed the Putin regime, he was ready to do anything to oppose the Macron regime, which he considers just as repressive. "
Removal of Griveaux: who is Piotr Pavlenski, the man who broadcast the videos?
But if Juan Branco intervened, by legally advising the activist, he had not, however, been designated as his official lawyer, indicates to the Parisian, the cabinet of Marie-Alix Canu Bernard, lawyer originally appointed by the Russian opponent and his companion, Alexandra de Taddeo.
After his arrest on Saturday, Piotr Pavlenski was placed in police custody at the police station of the V and VI arrondissement, initially for "willful violence with weapons". A complaint filed after the fight during the New Year's Eve on December 31, 2019.
Designated by the political refugee, the penalist Marie-Alix Canu-Bernard went to her client on Saturday afternoon. But in the meantime, the case had taken a different turn.
Pavlenski's hearing for "violence" was indeed interrupted to switch to "invasion of privacy". His companion, Alexandra de Taddeo, who was heard as a witness for the fight on December 31, was then placed in police custody.
Again appointed by the couple, lawyer Marie-Alix Canu-Bernard finally withdrew from the file for "reasons covered by professional secrecy". Reached by phone, the criminal lawyer explains "not wanting to intervene in this case" and specifies that "unlike others", she "will not comment on this case". A "colleague has been designated in a second time" to defend the couple, the firm said. But the identity of the new lawyer is currently unknown.