Judged on appeal for "disputing a crime against humanity" for having argued, in October 2019 on the CNews channel, that Marshal Pétain had "saved" French Jews during the Second World War, Éric Zemmour saw his release on Thursday be confirmed by the Paris Court of Appeal.
The former presidential candidate had been released during his trial at first instance in February 2021 but the prosecution had appealed.
During the appeal trial in January, the Advocate General demanded a sentence of 100 day-fines of 100 euros, ie a fine of 10,000 euros which can be transformed into imprisonment in the event of non-payment.
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The appeal trial took place without the presence of Éric Zemmour, then in the campaign, nor even of his lawyer, Me Olivier Pardo who had unsuccessfully requested the dismissal after the presidential election for “reasons of serenity”.
The former candidate for the Elysee Palace was also not present before the Court of Appeal on Thursday to hear the decision.
Éric Zemmour's disputed remarks date back to October 14, 2019, during a debate, in the program "Face à l'info" of which he was the star columnist on CNews, with Bernard-Henri Lévy.
“One day (…) you dared to say that Pétain had saved the French Jews.
It's a monstrosity, it's revisionism,” BHL was indignant.
"It's real once again, I'm sorry," replied Mr. Zemmour.
Accustomed to controversial outings
During the trial at first instance, Éric Zemmour defended himself against any challenge to crimes against humanity and considered that the debate on the role of Vichy towards French Jewish citizens should be decided by historians and not by justice.
In its judgment relaxing it, the court considered that Mr. Zemmour's contested remarks had been made "at the point of view during a debate on the war in Syria".
The court had nevertheless recognized that his words contained "the denial of the participation (of Pétain) in the policy of extermination of the Jews carried out by the Nazi regime".
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Éric Zemmour's controversial outings have earned him around fifteen lawsuits, in particular for racial insult, incitement to hatred or contestation of crimes against humanity.
He has been convicted several times by criminal courts, the last time in January 2022 for “incitement to hatred and violence” and “public insults towards a group of people because of their origin” for remarks on unaccompanied migrant minors.
He appealed against this judgment.
He was also definitively sentenced twice for "incitement to hatred", for remarks made in 2010 and 2016.