Eric Dupond-Moretti is accused of using his position as Minister of Justice to make amends with judges he had opposed when he was a lawyer.
The decision was expected. Eric Dupond-Moretti will be tried by the Court of the Republic (CJR), the only jurisdiction that can try ministers in their capacity, where he will appear for “illegal acquisition of interest”. The dismissal, which was decided by the CJR’s instruction commission, was announced this Monday morning to the lawyers of the parties, while the Minister of Justice has been the subject of several complaints since January 2021.
Eric Dupond-Moretti is accused of using his functions as Seal Keeper to settle accounts with judges he opposed when he was still a lawyer by ordering administrative investigations. We are talking about three judges from the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) and anti-corruption judge Edouard Levrault.
The first case is the “dishes”. The PNF reviewed the phone records of several lawyers, including Eric Dupond-Moretti’s, to identify a possible “mole” who would have informed the former President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog about a trial in which they were implicated and which they were tapped for.
In this case, Eric Dupond-Moretti received the conclusions of the investigation by the General Inspectorate of Justice (IGJ), initiated by his predecessor at Place Vendôme, Nicole Belloubet. The report largely clears PNF, but notes, in Eric Dupond-Moretti’s eyes, “perhaps a certain number of dysfunctions”. The minister therefore ordered an administrative investigation into these three magistrates.
The second case concerns judge Edouard Levrault, formerly stationed in Monaco. Before becoming a minister, Eric Dupond-Moretti was the lawyer for a senior Monegasque policeman who was indicted by this judge, whose “cowboy” methods he had criticized. He had accused him in the media of “violating the confidentiality of the instruction” and had filed a complaint on behalf of his client. The investigation is still ongoing at the Nîmes public prosecutor’s office.
Dupond-Moretti says he followed the recommendations
The investigation conducted by the Court of the Republic led to a 15-hour search of the Ministry of Justice on July 1, 2021. Eric Dupond-Moretti was indicted on July 16 of the same year. He unsuccessfully tried to have the proceedings annulled by filing claims of invalidity before the court.
The minister has always defended himself by explaining that he has of course brought proceedings against these magistrates. But that he only followed the procedure initiated by Nicole Belloubet before him and recommended by the services of the Place Vendôme. He never intended to resign. “I will defend my rights like any lawsuit,” he warned, anticipating a referral to the CJR.
“I have always said that I got my legitimacy from the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister and from them alone,” he added last week.
His lawyers announce that they are appealing in cassation to challenge this reference to the Court of the Republic. The holding of a possible trial before the Minister of Justice should thus take place in several months.