Answers demanded as French Justice Minister faces trial

© Stéphane

A Socialist senator has asked the French Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, to explain to the upper house of parliament the government's position on Eric Dupond-Moretti, the Justice Minister who was this week sent for trial on conflict of interest charges.

Senator Jean-Pierre Sueur, addressing the National Assembly in the name of the Socialist parliamentary group, called on the PM to speak to the Senate in the wake of Monday's decision by the Republican Court of Justice to send Dupond-Moretti for trial.

Sueur said he would also like to hear Borne's observations on what the case implies for the objectivity and independence of French justice.

In a Tuesday editorial, centrist daily newspaper Le Monde points out that the minister himself will nominate the chief prosecutor at the French supreme court, when François Molins steps down.

That nominee will have, among other tasks, the job of leading the prosecution team against Dupond-Moretti at the Republican Court of Justice.

The Socialist senator pointed to a precedent involving presidential ally François Bayrou who, when he was justice minister in 2017, resigned from the government after he was accused in a case involving the alleged use of public funds to pay members of Bayrou's MoDem party.

'Scant respect' for judiciary

Senator Sueur also expressed shock at the attitude of the legal team defending Dupont-Moretti.

Dupond-Moretti made a brief reply, assuring the senator that his "legal team say what they feel they have to in order to defend me, but without any polemical intention".

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