A further investigation was opened when a photo showed Benalla with a gun at his hip while serving as a security aide for Macron during his presidential campaign in 2017. It's for illegally carrying a firearm that Benalla faces a possible seven-year sentence.
Taking the stand, Benalla spoke of being “surprised” by his arrest, because “I felt like I had done something positive for society (that day) by arresting delinquents. And I was taken into police custody.”
Benalla is being tried with three other people, two of them police officers who shared with him video-surveillance images showing him dealing blows to a demonstrator. The tip-off is a violation of professional secrets.
Hundreds of violent demonstrators had invaded the traditional May 1 march by unions when Benalla moved into action in a small Left Bank square.
"It was war,’’ Benalla told investigators, insisting that as an observer he had no intention of acting violently but intervened because it was his duty as a citizen.
Benalla was initially given a 15-day suspension from his job before returning and heading security for the French soccer team’s victory parade down the Champs-Elysees Avenue on Bastille Day after winning the 2018 world championship. He was placed under investigation later in July and, amid public outcry, fired from his job at the presidential palace.