Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy has been released on bail ahead of his rape trial.
Mendy, 27, charged with a series of serious sexual offenses against young women, was released after a bail hearing at Chester Crown Court on Friday.
The French international has been in detention for 134 days, since his first arrest and indictment on August 26.
The footballer, detained at HMP Altcourse, Liverpool before being recently transferred to HMP Manchester, was released on bail by Judge Patrick Thompson in a private hearing from which the press was excluded, while the bail was discussed.
The accused was due to be tried this month, but the trial has been postponed until June 27 at the earliest.
After the bail was discussed between Mendy’s lawyers and the judge, reporters were allowed to return to court.
Judge Thompson has granted Mendy bail until January 24, the date of his next hearing.
Terms of full release were not given in open court, but Mendy was told he had to live at his home, not contact the plaintiffs and hand over his passport until midnight on Friday.
Mendy, wearing a black suit and white shirt, replied “OK” to the judge.
The accused, of Withinlee Road, Prestbury, Cheshire, is charged with eight offenses against five different women, including seven counts of rape involving four women and one count of sexual assault.
The charges are three counts of rape, which allegedly occurred on October 11, 2020; sexual touching on January 2, 2021; two counts of rape on July 24, 2021 and two counts of rape on August 23, 2021.
Mendy sat on the quayside alongside his co-accused, Louis Saha Matturie, from Eccles, Greater Manchester.
Matturie, 40, is charged with six counts of rape and one of sexual assault.
Prosecutor Ian Unsworth QC told the court that on Thursday new charges of one count of rape and one count of sexual assault were cleared for Matturie.
He will appear in court next week on the additional charges.
None of the women involved, as complainants of alleged sexual offenses, can be identified.
A decision on Matturie’s bail request has yet to be made.
Mendy has been playing for Manchester City since 2017 when he joined Monaco for £ 52million.
He was suspended by the club after being indicted by police, pending an investigation.