Bettencourt 'butler tapes' ruling strikes victory for press freedom and right to know

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In a landmark ruling on Tuesday, five journalists from Mediapart and French weekly news magazine Le Point, together with the former butler of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, were cleared of invasion of privacy charges relating to the publication of the contents of secretly-recorded conversations between the billionaire and her close entourage of legal and financial advisors. The publication of the contents of the tapes, which lifted the lid on a web of corruption and manipulation, contributed to “debates of public and societal interest” and “without entering into elements of private life and family conflicts”, concluded the magistrates in Bordeaux following the trial of the six defendants last November. The full text of their ruling is presented in this report by Mediapart legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan.

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The former butler of L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, along with five journalists from from Mediapart and French weekly news magazine Le Point, have been cleared of invasion of privacy chargesin a ruling by Bordeaux court magistrates on Tuesday.