Former Manchester City and France footballer Benjamin Mendy was overcome with emotion as a UK jury cleared him of sex offenses, bringing an end to a grueling three-year court ordeal.
Mendy, 28, broke down in tears, placing his head on his knees and wiping away tears upon hearing the verdict at Chester Crown Court in northwest England.
The jury, consisting of six men and six women, deliberated for approximately three hours and 15 minutes before delivering not guilty verdicts on one count of rape and another of attempted rape.
This outcome comes after Mendy had previously been cleared in January of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault following a lengthy six-month trial.
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However, the jury in that trial was unable to reach a verdict on two other counts, leading to a retrial. The star footballer, who would have faced a significant prison sentence if convicted, vehemently denied all charges against him.
Mendy’s co-defendant, Louis Saha Matturie, a 41-year-old alleged “fixer,” was also found not guilty by the jury in the earlier trial, regarding three counts of rape involving two teenagers.
Additionally, the jury was unable to reach verdicts on three counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault against Matturie, brought by five other women. Matturie will face a separate retrial later this year.
During the trial, the prosecution alleged that Mendy was a sexual “predator” who engaged in non-consensual sexual activity with young women provided by Matturie at parties hosted at his luxury residence in the vicinity of Manchester.
Both Mendy and Matturie denied the allegations, asserting that any sexual encounters they had with women were consensual.
Mendy, who became the record signing for a defender when he joined Manchester City from French club Monaco in 2017, made 75 appearances for the team. Unfortunately, his playing time was hampered by injuries and a decline in form.
Mendy, a key member of France’s World Cup-winning squad in 2018, earned his last international cap in November 2019.
The prolonged legal proceedings caused Mendy to miss out on Manchester City’s remarkable treble achievement last season, where they secured the English Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League titles.
Following the verdict, Mendy’s legal team released a statement expressing their client’s delight at being acquitted in both trials.
They thanked the jury members for focusing on the evidence presented rather than the rumors and speculation surrounding the case.
Acknowledging the toll the process had taken on Mendy, they requested privacy as he embarks on rebuilding his life.