French government officials support minister accused of rape

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France's government is sticking by its budget minister as he fights a rape accusation.

Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin is the highest-ranking French official accused of sexual misconduct since the scandals that broke in Hollywood.

Darmanin has strongly denied wrongdoing. Other members of President Emmanuel Macron's government expressed support for him Sunday.

Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said on RTL radio that Darmanin "can stay in the government" as long as no charges are brought.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said on BFMTV that his colleague should enjoy "the presumption of innocence." The prime minister's office also expressed "confidence" in Darmanin.

French prosecutors announced on Saturday the reopening of an investigation into a woman's accusation that Darmanin raped her 2009. The accuser's lawyer says the case centers on the definition of sexual consent.