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French First Lady wins court battle over book

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French First Lady wins court battle over book
(L to R) French President François Hollande; French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler; Former UMP minister Patrick Devidjian. Photos: Demarthon/Cyclotron/Bonaventure/AFP
17:48 CEST+02:00
A Paris court has ordered the authors of The Rebel, chronicling the purported rogue affairs of Valerie Trierweiler, to pay damages to the French first lady for infringement of privacy, with claims of defamation yet to see a verdict.

The girlfriend of French President François Hollande was on Wednesday awarded €10,000 by the Tribunal de grande instande (TGI) in Paris, for "infringement of privacy."

Her lawyer Frédérique Giffard called the verdict satisfactory and “of significance”.

The book 'La Frondeuse' (The Rebel) by Christophe Jakubyszyn and Alix Bouilhaguet also prompted the president's partner to sue them and their editor Yves Derai of publishing house Moment for defamation.

The court will issue its verdict on that matter at a later date.

At the heart of her complaint lies an unfounded allegation that she was sleeping with Hollande at the same time as she had an affair with a conservative foe of his, Patrick Devedjian.

The author’s lawyer has previously said the supposed Trierweiler-Devedjian affair had been reported in two other titles, and that two men from each side of the political divide fighting for the affections of the same woman was of public interest.

The authors’representative Florence Bourg said the purported love triangle had led to a 'détente' of sort between the two men. The book argued that Devedjian acted as an intermediary between Hollande and then right-wing Prime Pinister Edouard Balladur.

The president himself has denied this claim in court testimony in the case initiated by Trierweiler.

Meanwhile, Dan Hazan, lawyer to Devedjian who has demaned €140,000 in compensation, said in April that the authors had transformed a scurrilous rumour to reported facts in order to sell books.

"There is not a scrap of evidence that this supposed relationship existed," Hazan said at the time.

Trierweiler has yet to find out whether her complaint of defamation will be upheld by the court. She has demanded €40,000 in damages, and has vowed that the money would be given to charity.

Devedjian, meanwhile, lost his defamation case. Olivier Pardo, lawyer to pulisher Yves Derai, underscored that Trierweiler may also lose her defamation case as she had identified the same passages in the book as Devedjian in her complaint.

Pardo told right-leaning daily Le Figaro that Devedjian losing his defamation case was important for freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

“I would imagine that Valerie Trierweiler, as a journalist, would appreciate freedom of speech,” he added.

Hollande’s glamourous girlfriend is a former Paris Match journalist and no stranger to controversy. Most media accounts portray the 48-year-old as a tempestuous personality who keeps the president on a tight leash.

She is also reported to be strongly guarded against his former long-term partner Ségolène Royal, the mother of his four children and the socialist who lost to then UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidential elections of 2007.

Hollande and Trierweiler reportedly became a couple in 2005 but he stood by his then partner’s side during her ultimately unsuccessful bid for the Élysée.

In a notorious Twitter controversy, Trierweiler took to the social media site to voice her support for a renegade socialist who nabbed the La Rochelle parliamentary seat from Royal in June, 2012.

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