François Fillon definitively found guilty in the fictitious jobs affair; a new trial will determine his sentence

There will therefore be a third Fillon trial

François Fillon definitively found guilty in the fictitious jobs affair; a new trial will determine his sentence

There will therefore be a third Fillon trial. The Court of Cassation definitively confirmed, on Wednesday April 24, the guilt of François Fillon in the case of his wife's fictitious jobs, but the high court ordered a new trial concerning the sentences handed down against him and the damages.

A new hearing will therefore be held in the coming months before the Paris Court of Appeal to re-examine the sanctions imposed on the former prime minister, aged 70, who was sentenced on appeal on May 9, 2022 to four years in prison. imprisonment, including one year, fine of 375,000 euros and ten years of ineligibility. On the other hand, the conviction of Penelope Fillon (two years suspended prison sentence and 375,000 euros fine) and that of Mr. Fillon's former deputy deputy in Sarthe Marc Joulaud (three years suspended prison sentence), are as for them confirmed by the Court.

The latter “confirms the decision of the Court of Appeal in that it recognizes the guilt of a deputy, his wife and his deputy, in particular for embezzlement of public funds and complicity. On the other hand, it overturns the decision of the Court of Appeal relating to the sentences handed down to the MP and the damages to be paid,” she said in a press release.

“Indeed, a judge can only pronounce an unsuspended prison sentence if the seriousness of the offense and the personality of its perpetrator make this sentence essential and if any other sanction is manifestly inadequate. (…) However, in sentencing the MP, the appeal judge did not explain how a sanction other than a prison sentence without suspension would have been manifestly inadequate,” considers the Court of Cassation in its decision.

While the Fillon couple had been ordered on appeal to pay 800,000 euros in damages to the National Assembly to reimburse the entirety of the salaries paid to Penelope Fillon, the Court of Cassation also overturned this decision, considering that the “judges found that, although the remuneration paid was clearly disproportionate in relation to the work provided, it was not devoid of any consideration.

Judicial victory before the Constitutional Council at the end of 2023

This decision by the Court of Cassation concerning the opening or not of a third trial was eagerly awaited seven years after the 2017 explosion of “Penelopegate” in the middle of the presidential campaign, in which Mr. Fillon was the right-wing candidate and of the Center.

During the hearing before the Court of Cassation on February 28, the lawyers representing the Fillon couple and Marc Joulaud developed a series of arguments for the Court to order a new trial, based in particular on a decision of the Council Constitutional Court of September 28, 2023 which, seized as part of a priority question of constitutionality by Mr. Fillon, repealed a provision of the code of criminal procedure, opening the way to a possible third trial.

Me François-Henri Briard argued that, to draw the consequences, an appeal court had to re-examine the request for annulment of the procedure deemed “biased” by the defense and therefore completely re-examine the case. The Advocate General, on the contrary, considered that the Court of Appeal had already sufficiently justified its rejection of this request for annulment and even anticipated the decision of the Constitutional Council.

Me Patrice Spinosi made other criticisms, notably concerning the damages, the motivation for the prison sentence imposed on François Fillon and its arrangement. On this last point, the Advocate General agreed that the formulation of the Court of Appeal was “very confusing” and proposed that the Court of Cassation rewrite the offending passage, without ordering a new trial.