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September 25, 2009

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Sarkozy faces lawsuit

FORMER French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who is on trial in a high-stakes slander and forgery case, intends to take legal action against French President Nicolas Sarkozy for calling him "guilty," a defense lawyer said yesterday.

Villepin decided to seek Sarkozy's testimony for allegedly violating the presumption of innocence following remarks on Wednesday by the French leader on television saying that Villepin was guilty, Olivier d'Antin said.

Villepin is a defendant in the so-called "Clearstream" case that went to trial this week. Sarkozy, a plaintiff in the case, claims Villepin was behind a smear campaign aimed at thwarting his bid for the 2007 presidential election. Villepin is accused of complicity in slander and complicity in forgery. He denies wrongdoing.

Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly that was broadcast on French TV Wednesday night, Sarkozy said: "At the end of two years of inquiry, two independent judges considered that the guilty should be brought before a magistrate's court."


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