Chief prosecutor Remy Heitz said the court had confirmed the abandonment of the case, originating from a 2017 complaint by Sophie Patterson-Spatz that Darmanin raped her in 2009.
Darmanin, 40, is high-flying figure on the right of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government who frequently talks tough on fighting illegal immigration and crime.
His appointment as Interior Minister – the nominal head of the police and judicial services – while under investigation for rape prompted furious protests from feminist groups when it was announced in 2020.
“For the fifth time in almost six years, the justice system has found that no objectionable act can be imputed to Gérald Darmanin,” his lawyers Pierre-Olivier Sur and Mathias Chichportich said, adding that the minister “will make no further comment”.
“What a surprise,” Patterson-Spatz’s lawyer Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon wrote on Twitter, adding that her client would take her case to France’s top court, the Court of Cassation, and the European Court of Human Rights if she failed there.
Patterson-Spatz and her lawyers say Darmanin extorted sex from the plaintiff in exchange for intervening in a case against her when he worked in the legal service of the conservative UMP party – since renamed to Les Républicains.
Darmanin acknowledges having sex with Patterson-Spatz, but says it was consensual.
In 2021 an investigating magistrate said the case should be dropped, finding that Patterson-Spatz’s “sincerity… could not be doubted” but that she had “deliberately chosen to have sex with (Darmanin) in hopes of having her criminal case retried”.
“The law cannot be mixed up with morality,” the magistrate added, saying the plaintiff was “consenting in the eyes of the law”.
A second rape investigation against Darmanin, on suspicion he extorted sex from a woman in exchange for a job and an apartment, was dropped in 2018.
In his post since July 2020, Darmanin has sought to shore up relations with the police and also played a key role in talks with British counterparts seeking to limit the crossings of small boats across the Channel.