PARIS — A former security aide to French President Emmanuel Macron who triggered a political crisis when he was identified as having beaten up a protester during a 2018 May Day demonstration went on trial Monday on a dozen charges, including voluntary violence, illegally wearing a police badge and carrying a weapon.
Alexandre Benalla, 30, faces up to seven years in prison and $118,000 in fines if found guilty.
Benalla’s actions, and the way Macron’s office clumsily handled them, caused the French leader’s first major presidential crisis and discredited his efforts to clean up politics.
At the heart of the controversy was Benalla’s murky role at the presidential Elysee Palace — where a police security contingent is charged with protecting the president — and whether Macron’s presidency had a hidden side deal with Benalla. Intense media coverage and a televised parliamentary inquiry that put top Elysee officials, normally invisible to the public, at center stage turned the