Paris (AFP)

Judging people, not a "system": on the last day of the trial of suspicion of vote buying in Corbeil-Essonnes, the defense mocked an "empty" file on Tuesday, asking for the release of several relatives of Serge Dassault who have been appearing since a month.

"There are laws which have been sacred and unchangeable for several centuries: we do not judge the dead," launches Me Pierre de Comble de Nayves straight away.

As an epilogue to this dotted trial, the financial prosecutor on Monday requested two to four years in prison, as well as a fine of 15,000 to 100,000 euros against the six defendants.

But he also symbolically asked for 5 years in prison "posthumously" for Serge Dassault, who died in 2018.

This post-mortem requisition is "typical" of this case: "we believe that we are in the camp for good and that we can afford everything", estimates the lawyer of Machiré Gassama, 43, suspected of having been an intermediary in the electoral corruption system.

"Rumors" reported by witnesses, "clandestine recordings" used as evidence, "press interference": this file is "a procedural and probative garbage can!"

castigates the advice.

"There is the absolute conviction that they are all guilty, so we will find some offense to stick to them," he said.

Examining the texts and the dates, he asks for the release "for the benefit of the law".

- "empty trash can" -

For the prosecution, there was, during the partial municipal elections of 2009 and 2010, a vote buying structure with groups of "activists" responsible for convincing residents to vote for the majority list, in exchange for donations, housing or employment promises.

"Dassault system", "pyramid organization": "all this lexical field reveals that the accusation is hollow", pinches Julien Andrez, lawyer for the former deputy Jacques Lebigre, 79 years old.

"We speak of Mr. Lebigre as the + suitcase carrier," but nothing in the file confirms this rumor, "he said.

Regarding the checks signed by the former elected, "there are 24 beneficiaries" between 2008 and 2009. "Of these 24, only 15 voted".

And "of these voters, only 4 were auditioned", supports the council.

During the trial, Mr. Lebigre linked these checks to the philanthropy of Serge Dassault, also claiming that the industrialist had been the victim of extortion.

"We spoke earlier about the trash file", "I have the impression that this trash can is empty", slips Me Andrez.

A "poorly put together file, where we were lazy", abounds Sébastien Schapira.

"Once Messrs. Dassault and Bechter were indicted and there were a few press articles, we did not work," says the lawyer for the billionaire's ex-right hand.

- "twisted the law" -

Me Schapira returns to each element against the ex-mayor of 75 years, judging them "fragile".

He points out that after ten years of investigation, there is no testimony in the file of a voter who voted for Mr. Bechter because of a donation or a promise.

"We twisted the facts, we twisted the law and we ended up wanting to twist the sentence," he says, denouncing the four years required against his client.

Recalling that Mr. Bechter was elected "and well elected" in 2014, he concludes: "You have the possibility of rendering a judgment which will honor democracy, which respects the presumption of innocence, is demanding with proof and which give Mr. Bechter his honor ".

Earlier, the lawyer for Younès Bounouara, another alleged linchpin of the system, also questioned: "Where are all these people who received the money?"

Portraying a "kid" from the popular district of the city of Tarterêts, whose life was transformed by his meeting with the billionaire, Pierre-Olivier Kaminski insisted on his client's "relationship" with Mr. Dassault, who was "like a surrogate father".

If he decided to sentence him, the lawyer asked the court to confuse the sentence with that which the defendant has already been serving for seven years, for an attempted murder linked to these suspicions of buying votes.

Decision on December 17.

© 2020 AFP