France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy and his singer-songwriter wife Carla Bruni sought an emergency injunction on Monday to block further publication of private discussions secretly recorded by a trusted advisor.
The conservative Sarkozy, who has been positioning himself for a political comeback, and Bruni-Sarkozy pitted themselves against an aide who was among the most trusted men in their inner circle – until last week.
That’s when recordings by aide Patrick Buisson were published on a French website and newspaper.
Accusing him of lies, betrayal and deception, Sarkozy’s lawyers requested 30,000 euros from Buisson and a symbolic fine of one euro against the online publication that posted the recordings, Atlantico.
The judge at the main Paris courthouse said a decision would be made on Friday.
The recordings by Buisson include the day-to-day discussions of a president and his team.There’s also chitchat between Sarkozy and Bruni, which was at the core of Monday’s proceedings.
Atlantico said the recordings were published and transcribed “for legitimate public interest” but that it has taken down those involving Bruni because “she is not a political personality and never claimed any role as such.”
Buisson’s lawyer said Monday that Buisson had the recorder in his pocket but never intended to tape the conversations.
Those conversations turned out to be only the beginning. Also last week, it emerged that investigating judges were tapping conversations of the former French leader in an ongoing investigation into his 2007 presidential campaign funds.
The two cases are linked only by the name of Sarkozy, whose continued presence as France’s most visible conservative is as much an irritant to his own faltering UMP party as it is to the Socialists who drummed him out of office.
Some have questioned why the recordings emerged now, just two weeks before municipal elections that are seen as a test of strength for unpopular President Francois Hollande.
Sarkozy has never been convicted of any wrongdoing.
Speaking at a public event Monday in Nice, Sarkozy avoided commenting on the secret recordings or the court hearing, acknowledging it only obliquely with a brief allusion to the journalists on his tail.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)
Date created : 2014-03-10