Paparazzi on trial over topless photos of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge
Britain's Prince William, left, and his wife, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, wait to greet the President of Singapore, Tony Tan Keng Yam, and his wife Mary, at an hotel in London, on the first day of his four-day state visit to the Britain, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. (AP / Anthony Devlin, Pool)
NANTERRE, France -- Three photographers appeared in a French court Tuesday over topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge, an alleged invasion of privacy that outraged Britain's royal family.
The photos were published in a French gossip magazine in 2012, the year after Kate Middleton married Prince William. The couple subsequently filed a court complaint, but didn't attend the trial outside Paris.
The pictures of Kate were taken with telephoto lenses while she and her husband apparently were sunbathing on a patio at a private luxury estate in France's southern Provence region.
The owner and executive editor of celebrity magazine Closer also were tried along with the former publisher of a French regional newspaper that also ran the photos. None of the executives attended.
Defence lawyer Francois Blistene, who is representing photographers Cyril Moreau and Dominique Jacovides, claimed his clients are innocent and said he is certain they will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
"The investigation was botched," Blistene said. "They were looking for scapegoats, they found these two. But the elements in the court file show that they are not involved."
The lawyer added, "Like Shakespeare might put it: 'Much ado about nothing."'
Paul-Albert Iweins, the lawyer for Closer magazine owner Ernesto Mauri, asserted that he did not understand why the royal couple was upset enough to go to court.
"The article made everybody happy, from the readers to the royal family, whatever they might say, since the couple was presented under a very favourable light," Iweins said.
The prosecutor asked the court to impose substantial fines on the magazine executives and photographers Moreau and Jacovides. Jean Veil, the lawyer for Kate and William, said he was seeking high damages.
A verdict is expected on July 4.