Moroccan singer-songwriter Saad Lamjarred, who is famous on the Arab pop music scene, faces up to seven years in prison as the star’s trial for rape allegations continues in France.
The Paris public prosecutor has also asked to ban the singer from entering French territory for five years.
Lamjarred is on trial for aggravated rape and assault. He allegedly raped a French woman at a luxury hotel on the Champs-Elysees in October 2016 while he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.
The plaintiff, who was 20 years old at the time, said that she met Lamjarred at a Paris nightclub and accompanied him to his hotel, according to the document summarising the conclusions of the investigation read out in court by the presiding magistrate.
She said that he struck her several times as she was trying to push him back before he raped her, the document said.
The woman managed to leave the room and hotel staff reported seeing her crying and in distress.
During the trial, Lamjarred rejected the allegations and acknowledged he had “occasionally” used alcohol and drugs at the time, but has since stopped.
He has maintained his innocence, however, saying that he does not believe the plaintiff is lying, but that she may have been “wrong.”
The court said Lamjarred respected the conditions of the judicial supervision he has been under since 2017. Lamjarred is not permitted to perform in France but has been allowed to leave the country for shows abroad.
The singer claimed that he “never penetrated” Laura Prioul, the plaintiff, but that they “kissed repeatedly,” and that she allowed him to undress.
“I had a bad reflex that I regret today; I brutally pushed her face away. I am ashamed. No man should hit a woman,” he added, saying that the action was a reaction to her scratching his back.
The singer also apologized to the defendant directly in court.
The verdict in the case is expected to be announced on Friday, and the prosecution’s request of seven years is lower than the maximum sentence of 20 years.
Lamjarred has also been charged with the aggravated rape of another woman in August 2018 at a nightclub in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera. A trial date hasn’t been set for that case.
The 37-year-old is one of Morocco’s most popular musicians, with several of his tracks gathering hundreds of millions of views and making international charts.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco awarded him the highest national honor in 2015.