Gerard Depardieu Responds to Rape and Sexual Assault Charges

FILE - In this Monday, Nov.

UPDATE: French actor Gerard Depardieu (“Cyrano de Bergerac”) has been charged with rape and sexual assault in connection with a 2018 case, Variety has confirmed.

Responding to press reports, Depardieu’s lawyer, Hervé Temime, said during an interview with local radio station France Inter on Wednesday morning that his client “firmly contested these allegations and has the right to be defended and should be considered as presumed innocent.”

“If there is a case where the presumption of innocence has more meaning than ever, it is this one,” said Temime. The high-profile lawyer, whose client roster includes Roman Polanski, pointed out that the investigation had already been thoroughly conducted. Temime added that he regretted the public echo that the case has been getting.

“We were in a quite exceptional situation where, for two months, no information had leaked. It’s a good thing. Justice should not be served on a public arena,” said Temime.

The case against the 72-year-old actor was initially dropped in 2019 following a lack of evidence, but was reopened in 2020 and criminal charges were filed in December, according to a judicial source quoted by the AFP.

“Mr. Gerard Depardieu was indicted on Dec. 16, 2020, for allegations of rape and sexual assault. No custodial measures were taken against him,” a judicial source confirmed to Variety.

The victim is an actor in her 20s who accuses Depardieu of raping and assaulting her at his Paris home in August 2018, the agency reports.

The actor is apparently not in custody, but under judicial supervision. His lawyer, Herve Temime, told AFP that Depardieu “completely rejects the accusations.”

Quoting a “source close to the case,” AFP suggests that Depardieu is a friend of the actress’ family. The report also quotes other, unnamed, sources, and says that the pair were rehearsing a play, but “there was nothing professional about the encounter.”

The actress’ lawyer, Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, told AFP that she hoped her client’s “private sphere will be respected.”

Gerard Depardieu is one of the most feted actors in the history of French cinema. He was nominated for a best actor Oscar for “Cyrano de Bergerac,” won best actor at Cannes, and France’s César for the film, and won a Golden Globe for his performance in “Green Card.” He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the series “Napoleon.”

In 1989 he was accorded a British Film Institute Fellowship and in 2020 he was given a career achievement award at the El Gouna Film Festival.