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Privacy lawsuit filed by Hollande’s ‘mistress’ goes to court

AFP

An invasion-of-privacy lawsuit brought by French actress Julie Gayet against a gossip magazine that reported she was having an affair with President François Hollande went to court on Thursday.

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Gayet, 41, is seeking 54,000 euros ($74,000) in damages and legal fees from the publication, and demanded the magazine run a front-page spread on the trial’s ruling. The actress was not present at the court in Nanterre, a suburb west of Paris.

The lawsuit stems from an article published by the tabloid magazine Closer on January 10, which included photos allegedly showing Hollande arriving at an apartment a short distance away from the Elysée Palace on the back of a scooter to meet French movie star Gayet in secret.

The president neither confirmed nor denied the relationship with Gayet, insisting he had the right to “a private life”. Shortly after the article’s publication, however, he announced his separation from longtime partner Valérie Trierweiler.

The famed movie star has largely avoided the spotlight since the story broke, sparking headlines around the world. She made her first major public appearance in nearly two months at last week’s French version of the Oscars, the César.

The court will issue its ruling in the case on March 27.

Trierweiler wins privacy case against Closer

Much to the delight of the French press, Gayet’s lawsuit went to court on the same day Trierweiler, 49, won her own privacy case against the same magazine. It published photos of France’s former First Lady while she holidayed in Mauritius after her breakup with the president.

"The hurt caused is all the greater because the article capitalised on the difficult period that (Trierweiler) was going through," the court in Nanterre said in its ruling, which ordered Closer to pay Trierweiler 12,000 euros in damages. "The number of photographs taken, obviously with a telephoto lens, suggest she was subject to intrusive surveillance by a photographer."

Trierweiler’s lawyer welcomed the decision, despite having sought up to 50,000 euros in damages from the magazine.

"[It is an] excellent and very well reasoned judgement which hopefully will put an end to the intrusion into my client's private life by Closer and other publications of a similar nature," Georges Kiejman, Trierweiler’s lawyer, said.

Closer, which declined to comment on the court’s decision, has also been ordered to publish the ruling on its front page.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, REUTERS)

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