An extremely rare search at the Ministry of Justice, and now a summons to the magistrates. Suspected of illegal taking of interests, the Keeper of the Seals, Eric Dupond-Moretti, is expected next week at the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), with a view to a possible indictment. The minister was summoned on Friday July 16, Agence France-Presse (AFP) learned from a source close to the case, confirming information from the Parisian.
This summons was given to him during the very long and exceptional search of Place Vendôme on Thursday 1is July, which did not fail to bristle its lawyers: “Delivering a summons on the day of the search is to consider that what was seized has no interest and that everything is decided in advance”, reacted to AFP Christophe Ingrain and Rémi Lorrain.
Mr. Dupond-Moretti is summoned for a first appearance questioning, which means that the investigating committee of the CJR, the only one empowered to judge ministers, is considering his indictment. At the end of this interrogation, he can emerge under the status of indictment, if the magistrates consider that they have gathered serious or concordant clues making his participation in the offense of “illegal taking of interests” probable. He can also come out as an assisted witness, a less incriminating status, which closes the door to a trial.
The three magistrates of the investigative committee of the CJR searched Thursday for fifteen hours the premises of the Ministry of Justice, with about twenty gendarmes. One of the phones of the Keeper of the Seals was seized on this occasion and the contents of the e-mail boxes of several of his collaborators were “Sucked”, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The investigation by the investigative committee of the CJR was opened in January, after the complaint of three magistrates’ unions and the Anticor association. According to the unions, Mr. Dupond-Moretti took advantage of his post as Minister of Justice to settle accounts in cases for which he had been involved as a lawyer.
“Logical continuation of the investigation”
At the heart of these accusations, the administrative investigation ordered by the minister in September against three magistrates of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), who had participated in an investigation aimed at identifying the mole who allegedly informed Nicolas Sarkozy and his counsel that they were wiretapping in a corruption case.
The PNF had been blamed for having scrutinized the detailed telephone records of lawyers, including Eric Dupond-Moretti. He rebelled against it and denounced methods of “Barbouzes”, then had filed a complaint for “invasion of privacy”, before withdrawing the evening of his appointment as minister in July 2020.
The administrative investigation launched by the Keeper of the Seals earned him the wrath of the world of the judiciary, the two highest magistrates in France, Chantal Arens and François Molins, even being publicly worried.
The unions also accuse Mr. Dupond-Moretti of having opened another administrative investigation, this time against the magistrate Edouard Levrault, formerly seconded to Monaco. Before becoming a minister, Mr. Dupond-Moretti had been the lawyer for a senior Monegasque police officer indicted by this magistrate, whose methods he had criticized. « cow-boy ». This judge spoke on television about this case after his forced departure from his post.
The Keeper of the Seals was officially excluded from these investigations and from all cases related to his former activities as a lawyer, which are now the responsibility of Jean Castex. The two main magistrates’ unions, at the origin of the complaint, did not wish to comment on the summons. “This is the logical continuation of the investigation which must take place as calmly as possible”, however clarified Céline Parisot, president of the Union Syndicale des Magistrates (majority).
In an interview with Sunday newspaper on July 4, Eric Dupond-Moretti said to himself “Extremely serene” and again questioned this union, whose ” the goal “ is “To obtain a new keeper of the seals”. “It is not one, but three unions which noted these conflicts of interest, and it is also the Prime Minister, when he issued a decree to remove the Keeper of the Seals from these matters”, noted for her part Katia Dubreuil, of the Syndicat de la magistrature. “As for the accusations of instrumentalization of justice, we hear them every time a politician is worried”, added the president of the union, classified on the left.