Saad Lamjarred trial: Alleged rape victim recounts 'nightmare evening' with Moroccan singer
A young Frenchwoman testified against Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred before the Paris Assize Court on Wednesday, recounting “a nightmare evening” seven years ago when he allegedly raped her in the French capital.
Lamjarred has faced several rape accusations since 2010, the latest of which is the case of Laura P, a 27-year-old who attended the court hearing on Wednesday, the second day of the trial. A verdict is expected on Friday.
Lamjarred was initially arrested in France in 2016 in connection with this case, but was released seven months later and placed under electronic surveillance, aided by Morocco's King Mohammed VI, who helped to cover his legal fees.
If convicted, Lamjarred may face up to 20 years in prison, but would be able to appeal the sentence.
In her testimony, published by AFP, Laura P told the court she was 20 years old when she met the now 37-year-old pop star in October 2016 in an upscale nightclub in Paris.
She claimed that when she met Lamjarred at the Matignon club she did not know that he was a famous singer. After a night of partying, in which her ex-boyfriend and a Swiss actor were also present, she ended up in the singer’s hotel room at the Marriott on the Champs-Elysees, where she said she was beaten and raped.
“We continued the party, we drank a little, we danced,” the Swiss actor, Nadege L, testified by videoconference, saying that the four left the nightclub at 4am and went to a room at the Intercontinental hotel together. There was cocaine, the actor said, which Lamjarred took, but not Laura P, whom Nadege L said did not drink alcohol or take drugs that night.
'She was crying, shaking, terrified'
Around 6am, Laura P and Lamjarred went alone to the singer's room at the Marriott, Laura P said.
"We danced, listened to music, talked about everything and nothing," she added.
"We kissed, and then suddenly, he pushed my head, which hit the ground." The singer allegedly ordered her to remove her T-shirt, and she complied because she was "terrified", she recounted in tears.
Laura P added that Lamjarred then beat and raped her, with two "vaginal and anal" penetrations, before she managed to push him away and escape the room to ask for help.
"I heard someone shouting 'Help, help'," testified a woman who was on the hotel's housekeeping staff at the time. She said she was able to help Laura P by hiding her in a room. "She was crying... she was shaking. She was terrified."
A male colleague of the cleaning lady tried to stop Lamjarred when he tried to leave the room in his underpants.
"He knelt down in front of me and asked me not to call the police," said the male witness.
Sitting a metre behind his alleged victim in the courtroom, Lamjarred looked down, while his wife watched from a bench in the courtroom.
In his statements to the court, Lamjarred denied the accusations.
"I have never, ever, ever penetrated Laura, neither with my fingers nor with my penis," he said. "If something affected her or scared her, that was not my intention at all."
His lawyer said Laura P has not presented any evidence to support the accusations, but she said she has his "DNA" and her wounds as evidence, which she had presented at the police station on the night of the incident.
Lamjarred has faced numerous social media campaigns demanding the cancellation of his concerts and the boycotting of his music due to the rape allegations. In 2020, a concert in Cairo was cancelled following a backlash online.
The trial continues.