French president Nicolas Sarkozy may have recently divorced his wife and married a beautiful Italian singer and former model, but that first marriage just won’t leave him alone — at least not in the media. Sarkozy, 53, has filed a legal suit against a Paris-based weekly magazine, which reported that the current French leader had attempted reconciliation with his first wife, Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz, just before his wedding.
The left-wing alternative weekly Nouvel Observateur posted a story on its website on February 6, claiming that Sarkozy had sent a text message to Ciganer-Albéniz on January 25 — eight days before the president married Carla Bruni, 40. The alleged message had stated, “If you come back, I’ll call it all off.” The report was titled, “The Obsession with Cécilia”.
After the report appeared, Sarkozy reported it to the police and charged the website with “falsification, use of false documents, and possession of stolen goods,” AFP quoted Thierry Herzog, Sarkozy’s lawyer, as saying. Prosecutors referred the case to the Paris judicial police. According to French law, editor Airy Routier could face a maximum penalty of a 45,000-euro fine and three years in jail.
“To my knowledge,” Herzog said on February 7, according to AFP, “it is the first time that a serving president [of France] has lodged a complaint against a media outlet, but it is also the first time that a serving president has been treated so badly.”
However, Routier has stood by the story and kept it on the site. He defended himself in a TV interview on February 9, on the Canal Plus network.
“I have my sources,” Routier said in the interview, although he refused to reveal who they were. “I have not committed any falsification or used false documents, and it has to be proved that I did.” The report, he insisted, “is rock solid, and besides, I know that Sarkozy has not stopped sending text messages to Cécilia.
“I think that I am being made an instrument in a strategy that is much more widespread,” Routier added, “which concerns all journalists at the moment, of resuming control and enforcement against the profession.” He also said that he had not “crossed the line” in terms of intruding on Sarkozy’s private life: “The president, who mixes his public and private life, confuses the issue.”
Sarkozy and Ciganer-Albéniz, 50, divorced on October 15, after a stormy 11-year marriage. He remarried less than four months later.
For a series of tips from divorce lawyers on how to stay married, click here.
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