The satisfaction of the CSM on the conditions of the investigation of François Fillon during the 2017 presidential election

It is not certain that the opinion delivered Tuesday, September 15 to the President of the Republic by the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSM) and published on Wednesday puts an end to the controversy surrounding the judicial investigation carried out on François Fillon, in January and February 2017. Those who saw a political plot in the legal setbacks of the right-wing candidate before the presidential election were impatiently awaiting this opinion since the evocation by Eliane Houlette, the former boss of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF ), from “Pressures” suffered in this case.

On June 10, before the National Assembly’s commission of inquiry on “Obstacles to the independence of the judiciary”, Mme Houlette complained about “Incessant demands” of the Attorney General of Paris on the acts of the preliminary investigation opened by the PNF concerning suspicions of fictitious employment targeting the Fillon couple. Faced with the turmoil caused by these words, Emmanuel Macron had seized the CSM to verify “If the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office has been able to exercise its activity with confidence, without pressure”.

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An independent institution, the CSM clearly denies any interventionism in this procedure of political power, at the time embodied by François Hollande at the Elysée. “The relations between the judicial authority and the executive power in the context of this case must be qualified as conforming to the usual texts and practices, and as classic in view of the sensitivity of the case”, writes the CSM.

“Major democratic stake”

No less than 13 feedbacks to the Ministry of Justice were recorded between the opening of the investigation on January 25, 2017 and that of the judicial information one month later. However, it appears that the public prosecutor’s office twice violated the rule prohibiting informing the Chancellery of upcoming investigative acts, even if it was non-strategic information, such as confirmation of the hearing. by Marc Joulaud (former parliamentary assistant to Mr. Fillon) announced to the press by his own town hall.

The plenary session of the CSM concludes in the absence of “Pressures” the Keeper of the Seals or his cabinet. The case was followed closely because of its “Major democratic stake, but this attention did not lead the executive power to formulate the slightest instruction to the address of the judicial authority, or even to request feedback to an extent substantially exceeding usual practice”.

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