In a retrial held at Chester Crown Court in northwest England, Benjamin Mendy, the former Manchester City defender, was declared not guilty on Friday of one count of raping a woman and the attempted rape of another woman. The 28-year-old Mendy, who had been standing during the delivery of the verdicts, broke down in tears upon hearing the jury foreman's announcement. Overwhelmed by emotion, he sank to his seat, with his head bowed and tears streaming down his face, which he wiped away with a tissue.
Innocent but now tarnished
The French international, whose contract with Manchester City concluded on July 1, was acquitted of the charge of attempting to rape a 29-year-old woman at his residence in October 2018.
Additionally, he was found not guilty of the rape of a second woman, aged 24, which occurred two years later at the same address. Throughout the trial, Mendy consistently denied the charges, maintaining that the encounters were consensual.
The jury, comprising six men and six women, deliberated on the verdicts for more than three hours before reaching their decision. Earlier this year, Mendy had been cleared of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, involving four young women or teenagers, after a six-month trial. However, the jury was unable to reach verdicts on two counts, specifically those related to rape and attempted rape, necessitating the retrial.
La Pioche comes out in support
After Benjamin Mendy was found not guilty of all criminal charges, former Manchester United player Paul Pogba has expressed his support and called for Mendy's reputation to be restored. Pogba, who is also Mendy's teammate in the French national team, took to Instagram to convey his message. He shared a photo of himself and Mendy engaged in a FaceTime conversation, both of them being 2018 World Cup winners.
Accompanying the image, Pogba included a caption that read: "Al Hamdulilah" (which means "praise be to God" in Arabic). He expressed his joy for Mendy and emphasized that those who had spoken negatively about him should now rectify their opinions and help clear his name.