Former French Prime Minister Acquitted in Slander Trial

Posted September 14th, 2011 at 4:45 am (UTC-5)
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A French appeals court acquitted former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin Wednesday of slander charges.

Mr. Villepin had been accused of taking part in a smear campaign targeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Villepin are considered political rivals.

Political experts believe the slander case has hurt Mr. Villepin's political future, including a possible 2012 run for the French presidency.

Tuesday the Paris prosecutor's office opened a preliminary investigation into whether Mr. Villepin and former French President Jacques Chirac took millions of dollars from African leaders.

Mr. Villepin served as prime minister during the Chirac administration.