with AFP 9:20 a.m., February 28, 2024

This Wednesday at 10 a.m., the Court of Cassation will examine the appeals of former Prime Minister François Fillon, his wife and his former deputy, convicted for fictitious jobs in the National Assembly.

A decisive step, which will see the sentences handed down in May 2022 become final or, on the contrary, could open the door to another trial.

Decisive step this Wednesday in the Fillon affair: the Court of Cassation examines the appeals of former Prime Minister François Fillon, his wife and his former deputy, convicted for fictitious jobs in the National Assembly.

In its decision which must be rendered several weeks after the hearing, the Court of Cassation may reject these appeals, making the sentences final.

But it can also overturn the decision of the court of appeal, partially or completely, and order a new trial.

A decision from the court of appeal in May 2022

On May 9, 2022, the Paris Court of Appeal handed down a sentence of four years' imprisonment, including one year, 375,000 euros against the former tenant of Matignon, now 69 years old. fine and ten years of ineligibility for his wife's fictitious parliamentary assistant jobs.

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Penelope Fillon was given a two-year suspended prison sentence as well as a 375,000 euro fine and Marc Joulaud, former substitute deputy for François Fillon in Sarthe, three years suspended prison sentence, with respective ineligibility periods of two and five years. .

The defendants were also ordered to pay 800,000 euros in damages to the National Assembly.

The three protagonists have always protested their innocence since the explosion of “Penelopegate” in 2017, in the middle of the presidential campaign in which François Fillon was the candidate of the right and the center.

All three filed appeals before the Court of Cassation, which controls compliance with the rules of law and not the merits of the disputes.

What defense?

On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the high court will consider the arguments of counsel François-Henri Briard and Patrice Spinosi.

The attorney general ruled in favor of rejecting all the criticisms made except one, and he proposed a legal solution which would close the case, we learned from a source close to the case.

First issue of this hearing, the Court must determine the consequences of a constitutional decision.

As part of the appeal, Me Briard raised a priority question of constitutionality (QPC) which was transmitted to the Constitutional Council.

Without commenting on the merits, the latter repealed on September 28, 2023 a paragraph of an article of law which concerns the time limits within which a litigant can raise nullities of procedure.


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Subsequently, the Court of Cassation could consider that it is necessary to re-examine the request for annulment of the procedure - described as "biased" by François Fillon's defense - and order an entire new trial.

She could also consider that the court of appeal has already sufficiently reasoned its decision to reject this request and that a third trial is not necessary.

The lawyers at the council raise other arguments: they maintain in particular that the facts are prescribed and that the defendants cannot be found guilty of embezzlement of public funds, complicity and concealment, according to a source close to the case. 

They also contest two elements of the civil aspect of the case, but also the motivation for the prison sentence pronounced against François Fillon, as well as the convictions for complicity in abuse of corporate assets concerning the employment of Penelope Fillon at the Revue des deux mondes.