Éric Dupond-Moretti said himself that he expected it.
The Keeper of the Seals, suspected of conflicts of interest, was referred to justice by the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) on Monday.
The former tenor of the bar, appointed head of the Chancellery in the summer of 2020 and reappointed to this post after the re-election in May of Emmanuel Macron, was summoned at 9 a.m. with his lawyers before the commission of instruction of the CJR.
His lawyers have already announced that he is appealing in cassation.
The latter, which indicted him for illegal taking of interest in July 2021, therefore decided to have him appear before its court formation, the only one empowered to try members of the government for crimes or offenses committed in the exercise of their mandate.
For the minister himself, whose relations with the judiciary are notoriously difficult, the decision was therefore no mystery: he confided to us, ten days ago, that his dismissal was “almost assured”.
This is a first for a Minister of Justice still in office.
“I have always said that I held my legitimacy from the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister and from them alone,” he however declared on Tuesday.
But this dismissal will not fail to pose once again the question of the maintenance of the government of the former criminal lawyer.
Investigation opened in January 2021
Éric Dupond-Moretti is accused of having taken advantage of his position, once at the head of the Ministry of Justice, to settle accounts with magistrates with whom he had had trouble when he was a lawyer, which he dispute.
Complaints from magistrates' unions and the anticorruption association Anticor, denouncing two situations of conflict of interest since his arrival at the Chancellery, had given rise to the opening of a judicial investigation in January 2021.
The first case concerns the administrative investigation he ordered in September 2020 against three magistrates of the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF).
They had had his detailed telephone bills ("fadettes") go through when Éric Dupond-Moretti was still a star at the bar in order to flush out a possible mole who would have informed Nicolas Sarkozy that he was being tapped in the so-called corruption case. Paul Bismuth.
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A PNF deputy prosecutor, Patrice Amar, and his ex-boss, Eliane Houlette, appeared in September before the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSM), which is due to render its decision on October 19.
No sanction was required against them.
The third magistrate implicated, Ulrika Delaunay-Weiss, was cleared before any hearing before the CSM.
Dupond-Moretti defends himself
In the second case, the Keeper of the Seals is accused of having initiated administrative proceedings against a former investigating judge seconded to Monaco, Édouard Levrault, who had indicted one of his ex-clients.
Éric Dupond-Moretti had criticized his “cowboy” methods.
The CSM decided on September 15 not to sanction Édouard Levrault, considering that “no disciplinary breach could be blamed on him”.
This decision sounded like a disavowal of the minister.
Throughout the investigation, Éric Dupond-Moretti repeated that he had only "followed the recommendations of his administration".
An argument that did not convince the public prosecutor, who in May requested a trial against the minister.