A French judo coach accused of domestic violence against his Olympic champion partner has been acquitted in a case which has caused shock and outrage across the nation.
Alain Schmitt allegedly attacked Tokyo 2020 mixed team gold medalist Margaux Pinot at her flat on the outskirts of Paris last weekend by wrestling her to the floor, verbally abusing her, and punching her and smashing her head on the ground before trying to strangle her.
Pinot, 27, displayed serious facial injuries and a fractured nose in a social media post and asked: “What was missing? My death at the end, perhaps?”
“It’s probably judo that saved me and my thoughts go out to other women who cannot say the same,” she added.
Pinot reportedly required the help of neighbors that had come to her aid to escape Schmitt, who was also her partner and was arrested and questioned by officers that evening after Pinot filed a report.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">Dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche, j’ai été victime d’une agression à mon domicile par mon compagnon et entraîneur.<br>J’ai été insultée, rouée de coups de poings,<br>ma tête a été frappée au sol à plusieurs reprises. Et finalement étranglée. <a href="https://t.co/Ghbwg8NVQy">pic.twitter.com/Ghbwg8NVQy</a></p>— Margaux Pinot (@MargauxPinot2) <a href="https://twitter.com/MargauxPinot2/status/1466027874100592653?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 1, 2021</a></blockquote>
Schmitt, 38, denied the allegations “100%” and insisted the incident was a lover’s quarrel.
The case was fast-tracked to a court, where the state prosecutor, which has since launched an appeal, requested a one-year suspended sentence for “very serious violence.”
The judge however claimed there was not enough proof of guilt, saying: “A court is never there to tell who is telling the truth and who is lying.”
Both parties have held press conferences, with Schmitt, appearing with a bruised eye at his, accusing Pinot of lying.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">"Bien sûr qu'elle ment": Alain Schmitt réfute les accusations de violences à l'encontre de sa compagne Margaux Pinot <a href="https://t.co/67q3JTvv25">pic.twitter.com/67q3JTvv25</a></p>— BFMTV (@BFMTV) <a href="https://twitter.com/BFMTV/status/1466387784164384771?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 2, 2021</a></blockquote>
He admitted that the pair had an argument, but said Pinot punched him and pushed him towards a door. As he tried to get away, Schmitt says, the pair bumped into a radiator and the wall as he then fell on her.
“In my life, I’ve never punched anyone,” he said. “It’s not possible for me to have punched someone and they ran away and I caught up with them – it’s not possible.
“And all of that after I supposedly pushed her head into the ground? It’s a joke … She’s lying of course.
“She jumped on me and grabbed me by the collar. I moved back, she pushed me against a doorframe. I banged my head. I got up a bit dazed. She punched me and it escalated. We banged into walls, a radiator, a door.”