Jacques Chirac Corruption Trial

Former French president Jacques Chirac is being tried on corruption charges stemming from misconduct as mayor of Paris.

Former French president Jacques Chirac is being tried on corruption charges stemming from misconduct as mayor of Paris.

Jamey Keaten, AP (“Former French President Chirac to stand trial“):

The former president, a bugaboo for George W. Bush during his rush to war in Iraq, on Monday becomes France’s first former head of state to go on trial since its Nazi-era leader was exiled

That is, if the whole case isn’t derailed by a last-minute protest by another defendant.

If the trial goes ahead as planned, Chirac, 78, faces a month in court on charges that he masterminded a scheme to have Paris City Hall pay for work that benefited his political party when he was mayor — before he became president in 1995.

A prison term is seen as highly unlikely, but in principle if convicted, Chirac could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined euro150,000 ($210,000).

France’s restive political circles are gearing up for next year’s presidential race, but the fallout from this trial is unlikely to hit anyone other than Chirac and the nine other defendants including a grandson of Gen. Charles de Gaulle and a former left-wing labor union leader.

Still, the trial looms as an embarrassing coda to Chirac’s 12-year presidential term, potentially denting his legacy, recent philanthropic work and image as one of France’s most popular personalities since he left office.

The trial will also shine a spotlight on the underside of high-level politics that could be uncomfortable background noise for Chirac’s successor and one-time protege, President Nicolas Sarkozy, who wants to rebuild his depleted poll numbers before a possible re-election bid.

Some will no doubt rue the irony that Chirac is being tried while his nemesis, George W. Bush, will not.

FILED UNDER: Europe, Quick Takes, World Politics, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    Completely unrelated question:

    Out of curiosity, why are all articles showing up both on the main feed and in the quick takes section?

  2. James Joyner says:

    WordPress upgrade last night. It apparently broke a couple of things.

  3. sam says:

    “If the trial goes ahead as planned, Chirac, 78, faces a month in court on charges that he masterminded a scheme to have Paris City Hall pay for work that benefited his political party when he was mayor — before he became president in 1995.”

    I have to say that on its face, this doesn’t strike me as criminal. It sounds like garden-variety patronage. But I don’t know the French legal system or the Gallic tolerance for such things.