On the phone of Alexandre Benalla that he had “lost”, the investigators found messages previously deleted between the former chargé de mission and the Elysee.
Alexandre Benalla said that he had “lost” it, but investigators have found his phone and found old deleted messages. These exchanges between the former chargé de mission and the Elysee return to the famous episode of the Contrescarpe in Paris.
“Mr. President, yesterday afternoon I was invited by the Prefecture of Police to observe from inside the May Day demonstration, so I was equipped with a helmet and integrated into a team of plainclothes policemen. And at the end of the afternoon we found ourselves at Place de la Contrescarpe, where the situation has more than degenerated, so I did not confine myself to my role of observer (…) The scene was filmed and even if I do not identify myself very clearly, I am recognisable. This video is currently being spread on social networks.”
This message, revealed by Le Monde, Alexandre Benalla would have sent to Emmanuel Macron a few hours after the incident, the night of 1st to 2nd May 2018. The next morning, he transferred it to Alexis Kohler, Secretary General of the Élysée.
Support messages received
Other messages have been uncovered. Among them, words of support to Alexandre Benalla. “All are assholes, Alexandre. Be zen and strong, it is the boss who decides and at 30,000 kilometers (Emmanuel Macron was then on an official trip to Australia) he does not decide anything about you,” wrote Jean-Luc Minet, the the deputy military commander of the presidency of the Republic, on May 1st. “Thank you for your support,” said the project manager, before carefully deleting this exchange.
A “lost” phone that is still active
On July 21st 2018, Alexandre Benalla claimed in police custody that he had “lost” his phone and that he did not want to “give anything on this phone”. The data of this personal laptop would have been kept “on a USB key”, he said on October 5th 2018, but he still had to find it in his office. On February 19th 2019, he finally explained that the USB key “had been lost in successive moves”.
The investigators managed to get their hands on the phone and found that he was still active when he was supposed to be “lost”. Indeed, on July 22nd 2018 at 22:01, Alexandre Benalla entered into correspondence via this same device with the chief of staff of Brigitte Macron, Pierre-Olivier Costa.