In two separate opinions, the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSM) considered that these two senior magistrates, whom the executive accused of “failures” linked in particular to the case of “fadettes”, had “committed no disciplinary fault ” and that there “is no reason” to sanction them.

The final decision now belongs to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, but this double opinion already sounds like a disavowal for Mr. Dupond-Moretti, at the origin of these prosecutions shortly after his entry into government in July 2020.

By taking these decisions, “the Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice, found himself in an objective situation of conflict of interest”, writes the CSM in the notices published on Wednesday.

Just before arriving at Place Vendôme, Me Eric Dupond-Moretti had denounced the “barbouze” methods of the PNF, who had gone through some of his telephone records (“fadettes”) as part of investigations aimed at flushing out a mole who may have inform Nicolas Sarkozy that he was being tapped.

Opened under the supervision of Ms. Houlette and closed in 2019, this controversial investigation was carried out on the sidelines of the so-called “Bismuth” corruption case, involving the former head of state, his lawyer Thierry Herzog and a senior magistrate.

All three were convicted at first instance and will be retried at the end of the year.

Accusing Mr. Dupond-Moretti of having used his ministerial functions to settle scores linked to his past as a lawyer, magistrates’ unions and the Anticor association had filed a complaint against him at the end of 2020, triggering the opening of a investigation which led to his referral to the Court of Justice of the Republic for “illegal taking of interests”.

The minister appealed against this unprecedented decision and affirmed that his resignation was “not on the agenda”.

Emmanuel Macron, for his part, took up his defense by considering that the lawsuits against him did not concern “in any way, of course, what he did as minister”.

– “Unjustified” lawsuits –

Denouncing once again the “unjustified” lawsuits initiated by the Keeper of the Seals, the Syndicate of the Judiciary (SM, ranked on the left) deplored that “no consequence is drawn” from the disavowals inflicted on the minister.

“It is sad to see that the conflicts of interest of the Keeper of the Seals (…) do not cause much indignation in our democracy, which should nevertheless be alerted to such practices”, declared to AFP its president, Kim Reflet.

The Keeper of the Seals is at the origin of proceedings against four magistrates, none of which have prospered.

In mid-September, the CSM had already cleared the former Monaco investigating judge Edouard Levrault, who had indicted a client of Me Dupond-Moretti.

In a press release, the Union of Magistrates (majority) welcomed the opinion of the CSM on Wednesday, stating that “disciplinary action cannot constitute a weapon against the independence of magistrates”.

During her appearance before the CSM in September, Eliane Houlette was notably accused of two conflict of interest situations during her term as head of the PNF (2014-2019), where she experienced ultra-sensitive investigations (Fillon case, Libyan financing…).

If the CSM recognizes that the magistrate, retired since mid-2019, may have lacked “transparency” vis-à-vis some of her colleagues, he considers that “these ethical breaches do not reach a level of seriousness making them constitutive disciplinary offences”.

The grievances against Mr. Amar focused on a letter denouncing the management of Ms. Houlette.

If these denunciations “undoubtedly contravene the obligations of delicacy, respect and loyalty”, they are part of a “deleterious professional context” between Patrice Amar and Eliane Houlette whose relations were at loggerheads, and are not sufficient to characterize a fault, estimated the CSM.

“Patrice Amar should now return to the normal course of his career,” his lawyer François Saint-Pierre told AFP.