For six years he had hardly commented on the crime, now he has broken his silence: In the trial for the Paris attacks in November 2015, the main defendant Salah Abdeslam explained for the first time in detail about his role during the night of terror.
"It's my last chance to speak out," the 32-year-old Frenchman said in court on Thursday night.
130 people were killed in the jihadist-motivated attacks on November 13, 2015.
Abdeslam is the last surviving member of the terrorist squads.
Abdeslam explained that he was originally targeted for a suicide bombing attack in a bar in Paris' 18th arrondissement.
"I go to the bar, I order a drink, I see the people around me and I'm like, 'No, I'm not going to do it,'" he told the court. "When I saw people laughing and dancing, I knew that I wouldn't."
Abdeslam initially told his friends that his explosive belt had failed.
"That was a lie," he said in court.
He was ashamed to tell the truth.
"I refrained from doing so out of humanity, not out of fear," emphasized the accused.
During the interrogation, lawyers for the joint plaintiffs pointed out several inconsistencies.
Abdeslam said he couldn't remember which bar it was.
"We have a hard time believing you," said lawyer Didier Seban.
"If you don't like that truth, I don't care," retorted Abdeslam, who declined to testify at a previous interrogation.
"We have a hard time believing you"
Abdeslam also stated that he only received the order two days before the attacks.
He didn't know that the other perpetrators wanted to attack in street cafés and in the Bataclan concert hall.
In a confiscated computer, the investigators had found evidence of another planned attack in the Paris Metro and at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
In the letter of confession from the jihadist organization Islamic State, however, there was talk of an attack in the 18th arrondissement.
For which mission Abdeslam was actually intended remains unclear, even after his most recent statements.
On November 13, 2015, three men equipped with explosive belts killed 130 people in the Bataclan concert hall, in front of cafes and restaurants in downtown Paris and near a football stadium.
350 other people were injured.
The nine assassins are dead. Abdeslam was the only one who got rid of his explosive belt and fled the night of the crime.
The process began in September.
Twenty men are charged, six of whom are absent.
In addition to Abdeslam, four men have been charged with allegedly being used in attacks.
The remaining defendants are said to have provided logistical assistance by helping Abdeslam to escape or by obtaining false papers.