Jean Marie Léger was a manicurist. He had two bottles of nail polish in his hand when he saw the white SUV pull into the driveway of a house at 5100 Alberny Boulevard in the 15th arrondissement of Paris early on Nov. 28, 1984.
The president’s office, about 20 houses over, had just announced that President François Mitterrand had suffered a stroke and would not be participating in the public events of his final days in office. There were also rumors that a former spy had been arrested for leaking documents to a reporter, and it is not known what impact these allegations would have on the presidential powers.
Mr. Léger had been bitten by the love bug and his apartment, in Rue des Martyrs, was full of rock memorabilia and the exuberance of a city-slicker who stumbled into romance.
“We went there by cab because he had no car. We had to get from one place to another, and after about an hour, he said he needed to go inside,” Ms. Richoard said. “I stayed outside. I think he had taken a cocktail of some pills and been poisoned.”
Ms. Richoard was 19, a student, and Mr. Léger was a 22-year-old drug dealer from what was then Lorraine in Normandy. But few things in the affair were straightforward.
They were living together, but the relationship had ended in a drunken brawl. Mr. Léger’s mother was furious with him for going out with a girlfriend, trying to end their relationship after they broke up.
He had moved back in with his mother, but insisted that Ms. Richoard move out. He took her to the city of Meaux to elope with a friend of his. And then, the dead man suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
Mr. Léger was a few steps away from his living room. He ran to the door and tried to open it himself. What he found was a terrible scene, and not only because of the fact that he was sick. There was a message on the door, written in blood, signed by a “doctor.” The doctor spoke of the all-powerful “Church of Reject” and had used the same pen he had written in his handwriting about the anti-Semitic plot to kill Mr. Mitterrand.
“He wrote I was in trouble,” Ms. Richoard said. “The doctor had left the address. My security was a little bit calm, but I said he needed to make a call. He says he’ll ring the bell.”
“I waited until I heard, and so did Jacques, who was an actor in the Palace of the President. We looked at each other with something between astonishment and horror.”