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Relaxed by the Court of Justice of the Republic, Éric Dupond-Moretti saves his place within the government

A relief for the executive, the acquittal of Éric Dupond-Moretti for acts of illegal taking of interests by the Court of Justice of the Republic will prevent Emmanuel Macron from separating from his Minister of Justice.

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Relaxed by the Court of Justice of the Republic, Éric Dupond-Moretti saves his place within the government

A relief for the executive, the acquittal of Éric Dupond-Moretti for acts of illegal taking of interests by the Court of Justice of the Republic will prevent Emmanuel Macron from separating from his Minister of Justice. “I defended myself. This trial was a test for me and at the same time a relief. (...) I want to turn the page, even if it was something painful, and I want to resume the ordinary course of my work,” reacted the Minister of Justice, guest of France 2’s “20 Heures” Wednesday evening.

Earlier in the day, as soon as the deliberations had been made, he headed to the Élysée, where the Head of State received him “to review current and future projects to continue to improve the public service of justice,” said the presidency at the end of the interview. “I, personally, thanked the President of the Republic, who has always been very respectful of my presumption of innocence,” added Éric Dupond-Moretti on France 2. As for Élisabeth Borne, who had warned ahead of the trial that he would have to leave his post in the event of conviction, she reacted very quickly: “The Minister of Justice will be able to continue to carry out his action within the government team, in the service of the French. I am delighted about it.”

Also read: Guillaume Tabard: “Éric Dupond-Moretti, a fair return to the political field”

The minister, who distinguished himself the day before in the National Assembly with a tirade against the RN of which he has the secret, will retain his role as government puncher. And in the process maintains the reputation he built for himself in the courtrooms, when he was nicknamed “Acquittator”.

Wednesday afternoon, in a crowded Salle des Pas Perdus, Éric Dupond-Moretti, extremely tense during the reading of the judgment, did not stop in front of the swarm of cameras and microphones. He left without a word, as if he didn't want to gain any glory from his success. Barely a glance to the sky, as if to say that he had to move on, that all this was behind him and that he had wasted enough time. Because, after all, it has been three years since this accusation of illegal taking of interests began every day of his mandate and spoiled the satisfaction of a record that was nevertheless recognized, leaving him in balance, in the hot seat.

“We did not steal the acquittal, we fought with the weapons of law. The judgment of the Court of Justice of the Republic is fair,” his lawyer, Jacqueline Laffont, told Le Figaro, before proudly descending the steps of the Île de la Cité courthouse alongside his colleague Rémi Lorrain and of their collaborators. “The CJR came to say that, for three years, Éric Dupond-Moretti had been unfairly implicated, designated as a culprit even before being judged for an illegal taking of interests which, in reality, did not never existed,” she had previously insisted at the end of the hearing in front of a packed crowd. At the end of these two weeks of debates, the innocence that he has proclaimed since the first day with his lawyers has been demonstrated and is now consecrated. I would like to say that, during all these years, he was designated and presented as a culprit before any trial. During all these years, far too many people considered that the mass was said, while justice had not yet been served. And to continue: “For us, it is the consecration of the pre-eminence of the judicial process and the exclusion of all other processes. It is the victory of Law, of the presumption of innocence and the victory, somewhere also, of the separation of powers.”

After eight days of intense, stormy, sometimes unbearable trial and as many days of deliberation, President Dominique Pauthe read in a blank voice, and at full speed, the reasons for the judgment which therefore did not follow the requisitions. of the general prosecutor's office demanding a one-year suspended prison sentence. On the other hand, it contains what was already in two disciplinary decisions of the Superior Council of the Judiciary against the magistrates at the heart of this trial and for which the Minister of Justice signed two administrative investigations in the summer of 2020: “the existence of an objective conflict of interest.

In its motivations, the judgment recognizes it first of all for the case of the Monegasque judge Édouard Levrault, “since, previously and as a lawyer, he (Éric Dupond-Moretti) had publicly criticized this magistrate through the press and had intervened in this same capacity in the interest of Mr. Haget (his client), claiming to be the victim of a violation of the secrecy of the investigation attributable to this magistrate.

The objective conflict of interest is also recognized for the case of the magistrates of the National Financial Prosecutor's Office since "due to the combined fact of the reproaches previously and publicly addressed to these magistrates through the press by Mr. Dupond-Moretti, then lawyer, and the complaint still being examined by the Nanterre public prosecutor's office, filed in a personal capacity, the Minister of Justice found himself placed in an objective situation of conflict of interest. But a conflict of interest, however objective it may be, does not constitute an offense for the CJR. The resulting illegal taking of interests, provided for in article 432-12 of the penal code, presupposes, the judgment insists, the coexistence of material facts and intentionality.

The material facts were certainly recognized by the Court of Justice of the Republic. “Referring to the General Inspectorate of Justice for the purposes of administrative investigations concerning Mr. Levrault on the one hand, and Ms. Houlette and Ms. Delaunay-Weiss and Mr. Amar on the other hand, was likely to compromise its impartiality, its independence or objectivity in the operations for which he was responsible. On the other hand, the CJR was not convinced of the intentionality of Éric Dupond-Moretti. The judgment is based on the testimonies of his advisors and the fact that the minister never “expressed, in any way whatsoever, animosity, contempt, a desire for revenge towards magistrates or even a desire to use towards them the powers he derived from his position.” Finally, there is nothing to establish “the sufficient awareness that he could have had of exposing himself to the commission of an illegal taking of interests by ordering the disputed administrative investigations”.

Also read: Guillaume Tabard: “Éric Dupond-Moretti, an essential minister for Emmanuel Macron”

Christophe Clerc, the lawyer for the magistrates' unions, welcomed the fact that in the future "Éric Dupond-Moretti, no more than any minister, will be able to do anything other than withdraw in the face of a conflict interests”. The lawyer, however, denounced "an imperfect procedure" of the CJR since, as recalled in a joint press release by the magistrates' union and the magistrates' union, "neither the victims nor the complainants were able to fully hear their voices during the investigation or trial, in contradiction with the fundamental principles of a fair trial.

According to our information, Rémy Heitz, the attorney general at the Court of Cassation, is already studying the details of the decision rendered to decide whether an appeal to the Court of Cassation will be filed. He has until next Tuesday to do so. If this were the case, the words of peace brought by Jacqueline Laffont after this hearing - "it is perhaps the time for harmony rediscovered in the legal family" - would already be nothing more than wishful thinking.

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