French striker Karim Benzema, “exhausted” by the procedure, gave up appealing in the case of the “sextape”, where he was sentenced at first instance to a suspended one-year prison sentence, his lawyer announced on Saturday in the newspaper L’Equipe.
“This withdrawal endorses a decision of conviction and apparently guilt. It is a legal truth. But that’s not the reality.”commented Me Hugues Vigier with the sports daily.
This reversal makes final the sentence pronounced at first instance, in November 2021, against the center forward of Real Madrid. He had been sentenced to a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 75,000 euros for complicity in attempted blackmail against his former teammate in the France team, Mathieu Valbuena.
The 34-year-old was the only one of the five convicted of attempted blackmail or complicity to have appealed his criminal sanction. He was to be retried on June 30 and July 1 before the 9th chamber of the Versailles Court of Appeal, near Paris.
In its judgment, the Versailles Criminal Court had estimated that the footballer had “personally involved, at the cost of subterfuge and lies, to convince his teammate to submit to blackmail”.
Benzema, who has always claimed his innocence in this case, stayed away from the Blues for more than five years before making a surprise return to Didier Deschamps’ team before Euro-2021. He is now one of the indisputable executives of the tricolor selection which hands over its title of world champion in June in November in Qatar.