“I can’t forget, I will never forget. ” In video posted Tuesday night on her Facebook page entitled “Never again”, Brigitte Barèges, the mayor of Montauban, explained what motivated her filing of a complaint for “slanderous denunciation” against the socialist deputy Valérie Rabault and the former municipal councilor of opposition Claude Mouchard.
Four months after her release by the Toulouse Court of Appeal in a case of embezzlement of public funds, the elected Republican returned to this legal case which lasted seven years and which earned her in February 2021, a conviction in first instance to five years of ineligibility and 12 months suspended prison sentence, before being acquitted on appeal.
Vote of two deliberations
It is a former collaborator of the mayor, ousted for disciplinary reasons, who had revealed that he had been paid by the town hall to write glowing articles on Brigitte Barèges in a local newspaper while she was in the middle of the campaign for her re-election to a third mandate. These are the two elected officials targeted by the complaint of the mayor of Montauban who at the time had reported to the Montauban public prosecutor’s office the facts under article 40 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which stipulates that “any constituted authority which in the exercise of his functions, acquires knowledge of a crime or misdemeanor is required to give notice of it without delay to the public prosecutor”.
Once again, the person concerned denounced in her video “the judicial harassment of my political opponents”. “I decided to testify against those who are at the origin of this file, at the origin of this injustice that I suffered”, she argues. To these ends, Tuesday evening, in the municipal council, she had two deliberations voted, one authorizing her to file a complaint for damage suffered during the ten months she was unable to exercise her mandate and the other for him. provide functional protection.
“Vendetta” and publicity stunt for the municipal opposition
What raise many criticisms within the municipal opposition. “It’s completely out of step with the expectations of the Montalbanais. They did not elect us for this vendetta, nor to finance legal proceedings. And legally, I think it does not hold water because article 40 does not fall under a slanderous denunciation”, reacted with 20 minutes Arnaud Hilion, the leader of the opposition.
For this elected socialist, the position of the mayor of Montauban is above all “a lawsuit against French justice” which intervenes in a political context. “It’s a political stunt, a way to launch the legislative elections. At the town hall, she took things in hand and when she talks about the disorganization of services during her absence, she aims Axel de Labriolle who acted as interim”, continues Arnaud Hilion. An interim mayor who had resigned as soon as the release of Brigitte Barèges was announced, claiming to want to regain his freedom.