France: Justice minister acquitted in abuse of power case

World Thursday 30/November/2023 13:36 PM
By: DW
France: Justice minister acquitted in abuse of power case

Paris: A special tribunal has acquitted French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti of charges that he used his position to settle political scores with magistrates and prosecutors with whom he had dealings while working as a high-profile lawyer.

The trial took place in Paris before the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), which was established in 1993 to investigate allegations of wrongdoing leveled at government officials.

Dupond-Moretti, who denied the charges, told the court, "For me and those close to me, this trial is a disgrace."

The former star defense lawyer was accused of conflict of interest in a case against a magistrate with whom he sparred while in private practice.

Other accusations pertained to a case that Dupond-Moretti brought against the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) before he was appointed justice minister. He withdrew the suit after his appointment but then opened a Justice Ministry inquiry into judges working at the PNF.

Dupond-Moretti accused the PNF of invasion of privacy after they seized his personal phone records during a corruption investigation into former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The case against Dupond-Moretti was opened after three magistrates' unions and an anti-corruption group filed conflict of interest and abuse of office allegations against him.

Dupond-Moretti, in return, accused the unions of bringing the charges in an attempt to block judicial reform.

Speaking after the trial, Dupond-Moretti's lawyer Jacqueline Laffont said, "This is clearly very satisfying. This is what we hoped for and what the law demanded."