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Sexual Misconduct: 6 French Women Face Defamation Claim

Six French women, along with journalists who published their accounts, face a defamation claim by a former French lawmaker they accused of sexual misconduct.

PARIS (AP) — Six French women, along with journalists who published their accounts, face a defamation claim by a former French lawmaker they accused of sexual misconduct.

Denis Baupin, a prominent Green Party member and former Paris city official, takes part in a climate change demonstration in Paris, France, on Sept. 21, 2014. Baupin's defamation lawsuit against six women who accused him of sexual misconduct and four journalists who reported the allegations goes to trial Monday in what some fear illustrates a backlash against the #MeToo movement. (AP Photo)

The trial that opened Monday in Paris was prompted by Denis Baupin, a former prominent Green Party politician and Paris city official.

In May 2016, Mediapart website and France Inter radio published accounts from 14 women who alleged he had groped, sexted and otherwise harassed them. The statute of limitations had expired on the alleged facts.

Baupin denied wrongdoing and sued the women named in the reports.

His lawyer Emmanuel Pierrat said Baupin expects that his "innocence" will be "totally proved."

One defendant, Elen Debost, said it's "a disgrace" to be "sitting on the bench of the accused when this man hasn't even been judged."

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