One year suspended prison sentence required against Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti for illegal taking of interests

Rémy Heitz advanced to the witness box to have, right in front of him, the twelve parliamentary judges of the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR). They are the ones who need to be convinced. In addition to the three magistrates, we must find five others ready to condemn Eric Dupond-Moretti, prosecuted for “illegal taking of interests”.

The Minister of Justice risked five years of imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 euros; the Attorney General at the Court of Cation, after a few hours of suspense, requested, Wednesday November 15, only one year of suspended prison sentence.

It’s not much, but the CJR is not known for the severity of its decisions. This is also the sentence to which Jean-Jacques Urvoas, an unfortunate predecessor of Eric Dupond-Moretti as chancellor, was sentenced in 2019 for violation of professional secrecy. The requisition is actually quite clever: to ask for more was to risk the Court believing that the prosecution was going too far; to ask for less was to admit that the file was fragile.

Rémy Heitz knows how to play very well with his tall figure and his white hair; he strives to give the feeling that he fulfills his duty with a heavy heart, with calm, humanity and moderation, but ultimately, “it is indeed the values ​​of the Republic that are at stake”. “I know the ordeal that this hearing represents for you, Mr. Minister, began the prosecutor humbly, here you are, in civilian clothes and all of us in dresses, and that really doesn’t please anyone. It’s a difficult exercise for me, I have no personal satisfaction from being there”and despite the names of birds exchanged during the hearing “a heavy trial”, we will have to continue to work together. Maybe not with the same minister though.

“Three curtains of smoke”

Initially, the Attorney General wisely wanted to move away from the bitter guerrilla war between the Minister of Justice and his predecessor at the prosecutor’s office, François Molins. Rémy Heitz ures that he has never had any difficulties with the defendant, to whom he owes his appointment to the general prosecutor’s office of the Paris Court of Appeal, in 2021, and the minister is also not for nothing in his accession, on 1er July, at the top of the hierarchy at the Court of Cation. But the prosecutor ures that he has always demonstrated “neutrality, objectivity”in short “impartiality”.

The magistrate, who is obviously trying to pull the rug out from under the feet of the defense which will plead on Thursday, then noted “three curtains of smoke”. Is this affair a settling of scores by the magistrates’ unions? Rémy Heitz agrees, the appointment of the lawyer to the Ministry of Justice did not arouse “a wave of enthusiasm”given the unkind remarks of the former criminal lawyer, but he spoke out against “imaginary plots” who would like the unions to have sought at all costs to bring down their minister. They were the last to file a complaint, in 2020, and for a lawyer to become Keeper of the Seals has never posed any difficulties until now, whether it is Robert Badinter, Pascal Clément or Michel Vauzelle.

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