French court overturns sex assault rap for trumpet star Maalouf

French-Lebanese trumpeteer Ibrahim Maalouf has been convicted of assaulting a 14-year-old schoolgirl at this music studio in 2013

A French appeals court on Wednesday overturned a child sex assault conviction for Franco-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, annulling a suspended prison sentence handed down in November 2018.

Maalouf, 39, was found guilty of assaulting a 14-year-old schoolgirl who was doing work experience at his music studio in a suburb southeast of Paris in 2013.

Now an adult, the woman testified that Maalouf kissed her on two occasions, and grabbed her in a sexual manner without her consent.

He denied the allegations, saying she was an infatuated fan who was bitter after he rejected her advances, but the court handed him a suspended four-month term and a 20,000-euro ($22,500) fine.

For his appeal hearings, Maalouf produced documents proving his whereabouts for the alleged assault at the studio which he says never took place.

Born in Lebanon, Maalouf fled with his parents -- both musicians -- during the country's 15-year-civil war and settled in France.

An award-winning movie soundtrack composer known for mixing eastern and western sounds, he plays a four-pistoned instrument invented by his trumpeter father in the 1960s, as well as the piano, and also composes and teaches.

He has played with Sting and Elvis Costello among other stars and last year won French cinema's highest award, a Cesar, for the soundtrack of the film "In the Forests of Siberia."