French Judge: Ex-President Chirac Not Required to Attend Corruption Trial

Posted September 5th, 2011 at 2:20 pm (UTC-5)
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A French court has ruled the corruption trial against former President Jacques Chirac will go ahead in his absence, after his lawyers said he was too ill to attend.

Judge Dominique Pauthe said Monday he took into account an appeal by Mr. Chirac's defense team, and said he is not required to attend the long-awaited trial.

Mr. Chirac's lawyers said the former leader has memory problems and is not competent to attend court.

The former president is accused of embezzling public funds between 1977 to 1995, while he was the mayor of Paris.

Mr. Chirac has denied wrongdoing. If convicted, the 78-year-old former politician faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $210,000.

He was immune from prosecution while president from 1995 to 2007.

Mr. Chirac is the first French former head of state to go on trial since France's Nazi-era leader, Marshal Petain, was exiled for treason after World War Two.