French striker Karim Benzema is exhausted by the “sextape” trial and has decided to forgo an appeal against his one-year suspended sentence, his lawyer is quoted as saying in Saturday’s edition of L’Équipe sports newspaper.
His decision endorses the conviction and the apparent guilty ruling in the trial, Attorney Hugues Vigier commented. “It’s a legal truth, but it’s not the reality,” he added.
As a result, the ruling handed down by a lower court against the Real Madrid centre forward now stands.
He had been condemned on 21 November 2021 to a one-year suspended prison sentence and a 75,000-euro fine for complicity with attempted blackmail against his former teammate in the French national squad, Mathieu Valbuena.
The 34-year-old striker had been the only one of the five team members charged with attempted blackmail or complicity with attempted blackmail to have appealed against the sentence. He was to have appeared in the 9th Chamber of the Versailles Court of Appeal on 30 June and 1 July.
In its ruling, the Versailles Correctional Court had judged that the footballer was “personally involved, through subterfuge and lies, in convincing his teammate to submit to the blackmail.”
Benzema, who has always maintained his innocence, remained separated from the French national team for over five years before making a surprise comeback when coach Didier Deschamps recalled him just before Euro 2021.
He is now one of the stalwarts of the French team, which defends its world champion title in Qatar this year.