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Memory illness may disrupt trial

The ex-president may be judged in his absence or proceedings could be delayed pending more medical tests

THE corruption trial of former president Jacques Chirac may take place without him, because he is suffering mental illness, his defence lawyers claim.
A medical report commissioned by the defence states that he is suffering from anosognosia, a condition affecting memory, sometimes linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.
This means he would not reliably be able to answer questions about what happened in the past, his legal team is expected to say.
The trial, relating to accusations Chirac paid people working for his own RPR party out of public funds as mayor of Paris, is meant to get under way today after various delays.
The judge is expected to make one of several possible decisions: to judge him in his absence, to go ahead with the trial for nine other people implicated in the affair and put Chirac’s own trial on hold until such a time as he is well, or ordering an impartial study into Chirac’s health to corroborate what the defence team say and delaying the trial until the results are in.
Le Parisien quoted a “friend” of the ex-president as having said he has had a difficult summer, despite press photos of him enjoying a cocktail in Saint-Tropez and signing autographs. “Sometimes he becomes very confused,” the source said.

Photo: Eric Pouhier

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