Eric Dupond-Moretti was indicted on Friday in the investigation into possible conflicts of interest with his former activities as a lawyer, a first for a current Minister of Justice, to whom Jean Castex renewed “all his confidence” .

While “(taking) note” of the unprecedented indictment of the Keeper of the Seals, “the Prime Minister renews his confidence in him and asks him to continue the action of reform and reinforcement of the means granted to the public service of justice “, wrote Matignon in a press release.

After nearly six hours of questioning by the investigating committee of the Court of Justice of the Republic – the only jurisdiction empowered to prosecute and judge ministers for offenses committed in the performance of their duties – Eric Dupond -Moretti was indicted for illegal taking of interests, without judicial review.

The minister said he was “serene” and “particularly determined”, displaying a big smile on his arrival at the CJR, from which he left without making a statement.

“This indictment was clearly announced. (…) His explanations were unfortunately not enough to reverse this decision taken before the hearing. We will obviously now challenge this indictment”, declared one of the three lawyers of the Minister of Justice, Me Christophe Ingrain, who announced that he would file “a motion for nullity”.

Neither the Attorney General at the Court of Cassation François Molins – who represents the prosecution in these proceedings – nor any other representative of the prosecution attended the interrogation, said a judicial source.

Eric Dupond-Moretti’s summons for this first appearance interview had been given to him during a rare 3 p.m. search at the Chancellery on July 1.

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In this case, he is suspected of having taken advantage of his function as minister to settle accounts with magistrates with whom he had trouble with when he was a lawyer, which he refutes.

“Barbouzes methods”

In January, the CJR opened a judicial investigation for “illegal taking of interests” after complaints from the three magistrates’ unions and the Anticor association denouncing situations of conflict of interest in two cases.

The first concerns the administrative investigation ordered in September by the Minister of Justice against three magistrates of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) who had his detailed telephone records (“fadettes”) scrutinized when he was still a star in the courtroom.

The PNF then sought to flush out a “mole” who had been able to inform Nicolas Sarkozy and his counsel Thierry Herzog – a friend of Eric Dupond-Moretti – that they were wiretapped in the so-called “Bismuth” corruption case, which won in March a historic condemnation to the former head of state.

Vilifying the “barbouzes methods” of the anti-corruption prosecution, Eric Dupond-Moretti had filed a complaint, before withdrawing it on the evening of his appointment as Keeper of the Seals, July 6, 2020.

In the second case, he is accused of having initiated administrative proceedings against a former investigating judge seconded to Monaco, Edouard Levrault, who had indicted one of his ex-clients and whose methods he criticized ” cowboy “after this magistrate spoke in a report.

Eric Dupond-Moretti has always defended himself against any illegal taking of interests, insisting that he only “followed the recommendations” of his administration.

Calls for resignation

The potential conflicts of interest of the new Minister of Justice, raised upon his arrival at the Chancellery by the magistrates’ unions, had finally led at the end of October to remove him from the follow-up of his former affairs, now under the control of Matignon.

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Eric Dupond-Moretti accuses these same unions of “political maneuvers” in order “to obtain a new Minister of Justice”.

“We do not play politics. At no time, in any way did we ask for the resignation of the minister”, retorted Céline Parisot, president of the USM, the majority union in the judiciary.

“The offense of illegal taking of interests is very serious since it implies that the personal interests of the minister would have guided the action of the ministry and not the interests of the Nation”, reacted with AFP the president of Anticor, Elise Van Beneden, judging that “the question of the maintenance of Mr. Dupond-Moretti in the government deserves to be asked” after this indictment.

The Minister of Justice “simply cannot stay in government,” tweeted EELV national secretary Julien Bayou. PS senators also called for his resignation on the social network.

“Despite my enmity and the feeling that he (Eric Dupond-Moretti) harms Justice, he is nonetheless presumed innocent as any litigant should be”, estimated for his part the MEP RN Gilbert Collard.

Emmanuel Macron, who had supported him at length on Tuesday in the Council of Ministers, defended Thursday on the sidelines of the Tour de France the “presumption of innocence” of the minister and posed as “guarantor of the independence of justice”

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