Eric Dupond-Moretti sent to trial for suspicion of conflicts of interest – Liberation

This Monday morning, the Court of Justice of the Republic ordered the dismissal of the Keeper of the Seals, before this exceptional court, for “illegal taking of interests”. His lawyers have announced that they are appealing in cassation against this decision of a trial, a first for a minister in full exercise of his functions.

The decision was expected, but looks like an earthquake. The current Keeper of the Seals, Eric Dupond-Moretti, is the subject of a referral to the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) for “illegal taking of interests”, we learned on Monday. For the first time, a minister is criminally prosecuted while he is still in office before this exceptional court – the only one empowered to try members of a government for offenses or crimes committed in the exercise of their function. A decision never seen, especially since it is the Minister of Justice himself. If, since its creation in 1993, eight members of government have appeared before the CJR, none have been while still exercising their functions. In fact, the jurisdiction is regularly criticized for the slowness of its procedures and the leniency of its judgments.

This Monday morning, Eric Dupond-Moretti was summoned, more than a year after his indictment for “illegal taking of interests”, before the three magistrates of the CJR’s investigation commission. If the Keeper of the Seals was not present, his advisers Christophe Ingrain and Rémi Lorrain were served with the dismissal of their client, with a view to a trial before the court’s judgment formation. They immediately announced that they were filing an appeal in cassation against this dismissal order.

Administrative inquiries

In May, the Attorney General at the Court of Cassation, François Molins, the highest prosecutor in France, had requested the dismissal of Eric Dupond-Moretti because, according to him, of “sufficient charges” allowing it to be judged. As a reminder, the former tenor of the bar, who became a minister in July 2020, is accused of having used his prerogatives for private purposes: by settling his accounts with magistrates whom he had in the viewfinder while he wore the dress. Once in Place Vendôme, the newly appointed Keeper of the Seals had indeed launched administrative investigations against a former investigating judge in Monaco, Edouard Levrault, but also against three magistrates from the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF).

Chance of the calendar, their disciplinary hearings were held in September before the Superior Council of the Judiciary. And left the feeling of a certain rout on the side of Matignon, who resumed monitoring these files in October 2020 after the minister’s deportation – sounding like an implicit admission of conflict of interest. Judge Levrault came out cleared, the disciplinary body of the profession considering that“no disciplinary breach can be blamed on him”. As for the deputy prosecutor Patrice Amar and the former boss of the PNF, Eliane Houlette, no sanction was required against them.

Anticipating this unfavorable outcome, the minister said last week his “quasi-insurance” to be referred to the CJR and had reaffirmed that it derived its legitimacy solely from the President of the Republic. Since the report and the filing of complaints by the Anticor association and the three judicial unions behind this procedure, the Keeper of the Seals has always denied the accusations of conflict of interest, claiming to have followed the advice of his administration and being the victim of a vendetta by professional organisations. “For us, the difficulty has been the same since the beginning of his appointment: unfortunately, we have a minister who abused his prerogatives to settle personal scores. This referral to the Court of Justice of the Republic is the realization that there is a problem”, reacted soberly Céline Parisot, the president of the Union of magistrates, majority in the profession.

Source: Libération by

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