Former French minister in court over 'fascist' slur against Mediapart

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After Mediapart broke a series of stories in 2010 about the Bettencourt Affair that appeared to implicate a government minister, the then-ruling UMP party's general secretary Xavier Bertrand attacked what he called the website's 'fascist methods'. Mediapart responded by taking the unusual step of launching a defamation action against the politician. This week the case finally came to trial. Jérôme Hourdeaux reports on the proceedings.

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On Tuesday February 12th in the 17th chamber of the Paris law courts, the defamation action launched by Mediapart against centre-right politician Xavier Bertrand over comments the latter made in July 2010 was finally heard. At the time Bertrand was general secretary of the ruling UMP party, one of whose senior members - a government minister - had been implicated in the Bettencourt Affair (see links at the end of the article), key aspects of which had been revealed by Mediapart. On July 6th 2010 Bertrand publicly accused Mediapart of using “fascist methods” and the news website took the unusual step of launching defamation proceedings against Xavier Bertrand. Below is Jérôme Hourdeaux's report of Tuesday's proceedings. A verdict is due on 26th March.