A top minister in the French government has just been acquitted of abusing his power by a special court.
Éric Dupond-Moretti, an appointee of President Emmanual Macron, was found not guilty of abusing his power to investigate his enemies in the legal profession.
The case was heard by the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), which handles allegations of official wrongdoing by government ministers.
Dupond-Moretti was appointed by Macron to serve as Justice Minister in 2020. Before working in government, he was a famous defense lawyer known for his high number of acquittals, earning the nickname "the Acquitator."
As Justice Minister, Dupond-Moretti opened investigations into three judges who had authorized a search of his phone as part of an investigation into former president Sarkozy.
Dupond-Moretti was accused of abusing his power to target his enemies. He protested, in turn, that he was the target of a witch hunt.
"For me and my loved ones this trial is an infamy," he said.
He was facing potentially five years in prison, a fine of half a million dollars and a ban on holding public office.
The court ultimately found that while Dupond-Moretti acted inappropriately, there was no proof of criminal intent.
The special court has been criticized as little more than a rubber stamp for its lenient rulings.
“We know that decisions are not based on the law, but often on political reasons and motives,” Jérôme Karsenti, the lawyer for the anti-corruption group that filed the case, said. “There is never any real surprise before the Court of Justice of the Republic,” he added.
Macron's prime minister Élisabeth Borne hailed the ruling.
“The Minister of Justice will be able to continue to carry out his action within the government team, in the service of the French," she said.
Dupond-Moretti said he wants to move on from this chapter.
“I want to turn the page, even if it was painful,” he added. “I want to pick up the ordinary course of my work.”
The result is a victory for Macron, who has been embattled by poor approval ratings and growing discontent with his leadership. Macron has faced widespread protests over difficult economic conditions and his reform to raise the retirement age.