“The discipline of magistrates, I don’t know what it is”

Eric Dupond-Moretti at the bar, with, in the background, deputies Danièle Obono and Julien Bayou, both judges at the Court of Justice of the Republic, in Paris, November 7, 2023.

The Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) got to the heart of the matter on Tuesday, November 7, and Eric Dupond-Moretti was able to explain himself peacefully for a good four hours. The Minister of Justice, prosecuted for “illegal taking of interests”, will have to return to it for another ten days after the testimony of the twenty-three witnesses, but already feels the mustard going up in his nose.

For the moment, the former lawyer’s defense has the merit of simplicity: he knew nothing about it, all the procedures were launched by his predecessor, Nicole Belloubet, and he only followed the recommendations of his administration. The Minister of Justice thus demonstrated perfect humility on Tuesday. He claims to have only learned of his appointment, on July 6, 2020, a few hours before the list of government members was made public. “Needless to say it was obviously a big upheaval for me, explained the former lawyer. I discover the places which, to hide nothing from you, crush me; I just say to myself, what am I going to do? I didn’t know the difference between a chief and a chief of staff. » Fabrice at Waterloo was no less lost than Eric Dupond-Moretti at Place Vendôme, and the new minister began by going to buy ties, was omitted from the bar, and began to put together his cabinet.

“I will have contacts, and many will discard, said the minister with bitterness. Rumor has it that those who come will be collaborators, in the bad sense of the word. » He sees there the hand of François Molins, then attorney general at the Court of Cation – and therefore the man who launched the proceedings before the CJR; the magistrate would have defended “to certain advisors” to come to his side. Fortunately, Véronique Malbec, head of the ministry’s general secretariat, agrees to become her chief of staff.

The matter is not yet won. “I will have to discover a world that is completely foreign to me, explains Eric Dupond-Moretti. The discipline of magistrates, the functioning of the general inspection of justice, I don’t know what it is. Before the National embly, I am completely disconcerted, I have no control over anything: I was a free lawyer, I have often been criticized for using, uh, flowery language. There I have to speak like a minister. »

“The thing fell on me”

As for the two cases with which he is accused, seeing there any conflict of interest seems to him “lunar”. “I left a job that I loved. I had one goal, to succeed in my ministry. The rest, I don’t care. The thing fell on me, initiated by my predecessor. » Judge Edouard Levrault who had indicted Dmitri Rybolovlev, the boss of AS Monaco and participated in a somewhat lively program on television? “The judge refused to explain himself to his superiors, said the defendant. What do you want me to tell you? The administrative investigation [prédisciplinaire] was already in the pipeline. I didn’t really know what it was, I have a thousand things to do. The Levrault affair was the least of my worries. »

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