The day promises to be crucial for Gaël Perdriau (ex-LR) before a council of Saint-Étienne metropolis under tension.
Accused of being the sponsor of a sextape to exercise alleged blackmail on his former first deputy, the mayor of Saint-Etienne said on Wednesday that he was “terribly hurt” and the victim of political “relentlessness” behind which he sees the hand of Laurent Wauquiez.
If he recognizes having mentioned in front of his former first deputy Gilles Artigues this video where the latter is massaged by a man in a hotel in Paris in 2015, the elected official assures in an interview with AFP and Progrès that c It was simply to 'make him uncomfortable'.
During this conversation, in November 2017, Gaël Perdriau strongly criticizes his first deputy for having "exchanged at length" with Laurent Wauquiez, LR president of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region, on the occasion of the recent congress of mayors.
"So when my first deputy, in whom I had complete confidence, plotted behind my back with Laurent Wauquiez, obviously I see red," explains Gaël Perdriau, "especially since his explanations of these secret meetings are particularly evasive”.
"Make him uncomfortable"
“I am indeed looking, with a rising tone, to hurt him.
This video that I heard about is an opportunity for me to bring it up to make him uncomfortable, ”he says, while ensuring that it is the only time he has discussed the video with him.
According to him, this exchange irritates him all the more because at the time, "in 2017, we are in a period of extreme tension between the region and the city of Saint-Étienne", tensions born, he says, of his position taken in favor of Bruno Le Maire, a year earlier for the LR primaries.
Laurent Wauquiez, according to him, perceived it as "a declaration of war".
In an article of September 12, Mediapart publishes the recording of this exchange, where we hear, in very crude terms, Gaël Perdriau and his ex-chief of staff threatening his deputy.
At the end of August, the confessions to Mediapart of a former close friend of the town hall claiming to have shot an intimate video to blackmail Gilles Artigues gave rise to the opening of a judicial investigation for, in particular, aggravated blackmail.
Read alsoSextape blackmail: the mayor of Saint-Étienne obtains “prior censorship” of an article from Mediapart
Namely accused by Gilles Artigues, placed in police custody in mid-September, quoted in damning audio recordings, the mayor has always protested his innocence: "I am neither the sponsor, nor the organizer, nor a user of this video .
I have never had or seen this document,” he repeated on Wednesday.
“I suffer a relentless with shared political interests.
My lawyer sent the judge very clear testimony which demonstrates that the publication of the Mediapart articles is part of a much older political logic involving Gilles Artigues and people extremely close to Laurent Wauquiez, ”he says.