Russian artist faces judge over sex tape that ended Macron ally's Paris mayoral bid

A Russian artist and his girlfriend will face a French judge Tuesday on charges of invasion of privacy and publishing images of a sexual nature without consent after releasing a sex video that prompted Benjamin Griveaux to pull out of the race to be Paris mayor.

Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky and his girlfriend Alexandra de Taddeo will face a judge Tuesday over a sex-video scandal that damaged the career of an ally of French President Emmanuel Macron.

They could be charged with invasion of privacy and publishing images of a sexual nature without consent.

Pavlensky has already admitted to publishing a video showing a man masturbating along with racy text messages sent to a woman.

The video prompted Griveaux, a married father of three, to pull out of the race to be Paris mayor just a month before the first round of voting.

Griveaux filed a legal complaint as politicians from across the spectrum came to his defence, portraying the 42-year-old as a victim of a hatchet job.

>> Sex tape triggers French ‘political earthquake’, leaving Paris mayoral bid in tatters

Pavlensky, 35, told AFP last Friday that he wanted to expose the "hypocrisy" of Griveaux for his campaign pledges to uphold family values.

Taddeo, 29, is believed to have been the recipient of the videos sent in 2018.

Griveaux's fall left Macron's La République en Marche (LREM) party scrambling to find a replacement candidate to run for Paris mayor.

Health Minister Agnès Buzyn is set to take his place. Griveaux was already running in a distant third place before the scandal broke.

Pavlensky, who has a long record of provocative performances, received asylum in France in 2017 after launching protests in Russia.

He was originally detained on Saturday on accusations he pulled a knife during a brawl at a New Year's Eve party in Paris before investigators shifted their focus to the leaked sex video.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)