Villepin faces retrial over Sarkozy 'smear'

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The Paris public prosecutor was accused of "persecution" and "political bias" yesterday after he appealed against the acquittal of former prime minister Dominique de Villepin on charges of smearing President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The decision by Jean-Claude Morin, who insisted he had not received any orders from the Elysée Palace, means that there will be a second, potentially explosive trial on the tangled "Clearstream affair" later this year or early in 2011. Mr Morin said that he had decided to appeal because the "full truth" of the complex Clearstream case had not been revealed by Thursday's ruling. "I had no need to take orders from anyone," he said.