– Domestic violence: Judo coach released on appeal
Alain Schmitt was accused of beating French judoka Margaux Pinot and was acquitted by the Paris Court of Appeal.
Judo coach Alain Schmitt was released again on Friday by the Paris Court of Appeal for domestic violence against his former judoka colleague, Olympic champion Margaux Pinot.
The two athletes have been torn in court and by the media for six months over a heated altercation in November 2021 at Blanc-Mesnil (Seine-Saint-Denis), for which the technician was already on leave at the end of the year at the correctional facility in Bobigny.
“I am pleased that the judges have shown common sense (…) I will perhaps be able to lead a normal life,” Alain Schmitt reacted with a smile, but was very moved, at the end of the hearing. “It’s been a lot of waiting, a lot of doubts, a lot of words to endure, things I’ve had a hard time absorbing and today I’m relieved,” he added.
Margaux Pinot was not present at the hearing. She does not want to react to this decision, said her lawyer Rachid Madid. The 28-year-old judoka claims to have received numerous punches in the face from Alain Schmitt, which her ex-companion, 38, has always denied. As in the first instance, the public prosecutor’s office had applied for a one-year suspended prison sentence for Alain Schmitt in the appeal process.
The first publication of Mr. Schmitt, bronze medalist at the 2013 World Championships (-81 kg), had outraged the French judo world and sparked a media battle between the athletes.
The photo posted by Margaux Pinot on social media, showing her swollen face, caused a scandal and made the athlete an emblematic victim of unpunished violence against women.
French judo stars Teddy Riner and Clarisse Agbégnénou had publicly expressed their support for their teammate from the French team. The Bobigny prosecutor had appealed. Margaux Pinot did not join this lawsuit and was therefore heard as a witness at the appeal hearing.
During the two trials, one in Bobigny in December, the second in Paris in April, the two athletes did not change their testimonies and provided conflicting accounts of the events that took place at the judoka’s house that night.
Alain Schmitt and Margaux Pinot have been linked on the tatami through a coach-athlete relationship at Club Étoile Sportive du Blanc-Mesnil since 2017 and have a confidential love affair.
While he has to fly to Israel a few hours later to take over the post of coach of the women’s national team, the technician argues with Margaux Pinot in the middle of the night.
“Judo saved me”
It features a mad woman lunging at him, and then a “tornado-like” fight based on judo, in which the duo violently crash into walls and objects around the home, according to his account. He denies giving his companion even the slightest blow.
According to Margaux Pinot, who recounts a spate of violence at the hands of her coach, the scene was very different. “He bangs my head on the floor two or three times. Then he goes to strangle me, ”she notably pointed out on several occasions. “It was probably judo that saved me,” she added at the bar.
No direct witness
Many bruises were observed on the two protagonists in the following days. But without a picture or direct evidence of the facts, the file was still limited to the stories of the two athletes.
Nevertheless, Alain Schmitt got back his dreams of Israel, which were shattered by this affair: he now coaches the judo teams in Bulgaria. As for Margaux Pinot, team gold medalist in Tokyo, at the end of April she won a bronze medal at the European Judo Championships in Sofia… in Bulgaria.