Rape case against top politician collapses

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The Independent Online

A high-profile case against a leading French politician has collapsed after a prostitute who accused him of rape withdrew her allegations.

Prosecutors dropped a criminal investigation into Dominique Baudis, a former mayor of Toulouse, anti-pornography campaigner and head of the French broadcasting watchdog. "We have no evidence linking him to any crime," the prosecutor, Michel Breard, said in an interview in Le Monde.

The prostitute, "Fanny", had claimed M. Baudis had raped her in a Toulouse brothel in 1990. But at a hearing before a judge this week, Fanny said: "M. Baudis, I am sorry, I wrongly accused you. I never saw you in a brothel or at sado-masochistic parties."

M. Baudis, who had denied any connection with scandal, said: "Everything she said about me for months was lies." He added: "I looked my accuser in the face and she couldn't return my gaze.

"My accuser came escorted by two gendarmes and she is leaving with two gendarmes. I came here as a free man and I leave as a free man."

M. Baudis had insisted he was a victim of a conspiracy by the porn industry because of his campaigning stance against it.

Prostitutes told French television earlier this year that M. Baudis had attended sado-masochistic orgies hosted by Patrice Alegre, a jailed serial killer and rapist.

One of the prostitutes, Patricia, said she and Fanny had witnessed Alegre kill two other prostitutes. He confessed to the murders. The two said they were ordered by town officials to cover up their attendance at orgies.