Nicolas Sarkozy, wife seek ban on publication of secret recordings
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy touches his head during the inauguration of the Foundation Claude Pompidou, Centre teaching and research on Alzheimer's disease, in Nice, southeastern France, Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP / Lionel Cironneau)
Lori Hinnant and Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
Published Monday, March 10, 2014 12:14PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 10, 2014 1:38PM EDT
PARIS -- His conversations secretly recorded by a trusted adviser and investigating judges, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his singer-songwriter wife sought an emergency injunction Monday to block further publication of their private discussions.
The conservative Sarkozy, who has been positioning himself for a political comeback, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy pitted themselves against an aide who was among the most trusted men in their inner circle -- until last week.
That's when recordings by aide Patrick Buisson were released on a French website and a newspaper.
Accusing him of lies, betrayal and deception, Sarkozy's lawyers requested 30,000 euros from Buisson and a symbolic fine of 1 euro against the online publication that posted the recordings, Atlantico.
The judge at the main Paris courthouse said a decision would be made on Friday.
The recordings by Buisson include day-to-day discussions of a chief executive and his entourage. There's also chitchat between Sarkozy and Bruni, which was at the core of Monday's proceedings.
Atlantico said the recordings were published and transcribed "for legitimate public interest" but that it has taken down those involving Bruni because "she is not a political personality and never claimed any role as such."
Buisson's lawyer said Monday that Buisson had the recorder in his pocket but never intended to tape the conversations.
Those conversations turned out to be only the beginning. Also last week, it emerged that investigating judges were tapping conversations of the former French leader in an ongoing investigation into his 2007 presidential campaign funds.
The two cases are linked only by the name of Sarkozy, whose continued presence as France's most visible conservative is as much an irritant to his own faltering UMP party as it is to the Socialists who drummed him out of office.
Some have questioned why the recordings emerged now, just two weeks before municipal elections that are seen as a test of strength for unpopular President Francois Hollande.
Sarkozy has never been convicted of any wrongdoing.
Speaking at a public event Monday in Nice, Sarkozy avoided commenting on the secret recordings or the court hearing, acknowledging it only obliquely with a brief allusion to the journalists on his tail.