Hollande accused of interfering with partner's defamation case

French President's letter defending Valerie Trierweiler in 'love triangle' law suit sparks fury


Valérie Trierweiler, the journalist partner of the French President, François Hollande, was back in the headlines today when a libel suit she launched against two unofficial biographers backfired with the revelation that her husband and his Interior Minister had written letters to the court supporting her case.

The leaked letters raised questions about the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers in the Republic. Mr Hollande had pledged before his election last May that, as President, he would "allow justice to function in an independent way".

It also played into the hands of the right-wing opposition party, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP). Its leader, Jean-François Copé, asked how Mr Hollande could have given "so many moral lessons to [former President Nicolas] Sarkozy while not applying them to himself."

Ms Trierweiler, 47, has launched her libel action against two journalists who in September published a biography entitled La Frondeuse (The Troublemaker). She accuses them of invading her privacy and is seeking €80,000 (£64,000) damages.

The book notably alleged that she was in a love triangle nine years ago with a prominent right-wing politician, the former economic recovery minister Patrick Devedjian, and with Mr Hollande, the Socialist party leader, when all three were married or in long-term relationships. Mr Devedjian is also suing the book's authors.

Mr Hollande's letter was handwritten and on plain notepaper. In it, the President dismissed as "inventions" an allegation that he wrote to the UMP grandee Edouard Balladur in 1995, suggesting a rapprochement with the Socialists. The letter from the Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, was on paper with a ministry letterhead. Sources close to the President denied that Mr Hollande's intervention was a form of "pressure" on the court, which is to rule on the case on 28 January. They told the AFP news agency that it was a "personal testimony" as a private citizen in the case concerning his partner.

Ms Trierweiler has been constantly in the media since Mr Hollande became President last year, and has jealously protected her privacy. She has remained on the staff of Paris-Match, although no longer as a political journalist. Colleagues suggest that there is unease at her issuing of privacy lawsuits since becoming First Lady, particularly given her former role on the the weekly magazine, where she is credited with being the first to develop celebrity coverage in France. Her role as First Lady, or as "nothing more than the President's mistress", remains unclear. Recent media coverage has highlighted her charity work.

At the weekend she got into more hot water while at a cultural event in her home town of Angers, where she received a letter for Mr Hollande from three activists opposed to the building of an airport in Nantes.

Ms Trierweiler was accused of undermining the authority of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault by meeting protesters opposed to plans for the new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a pet project of the former mayor of Nantes.

Mr Hollande has become used to fielding questions from journalists about his partner since June, when he was embarrassed by a tweet she sent in support of a rival of Mr Hollande's former partner, Ségolène Royal.

Ms Royal, a Socialist party heavyweight, is also the mother of Mr Hollande's four children.

ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform