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Ex-French PM goes on trial in Sarkozy smear case

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Ex-French PM goes on trial in Sarkozy smear case

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Sparks have been flying as France’s most explosive political trial in years got underway in Paris, pitting a former prime minister against the current president.

Before stepping into the dock, Dominique de Villepin denounced Nicolas Sarkozy whose career he is accused of trying to destroy in a smear campaign. “I am here because of the dogged determination of one man, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also President of the French Republic,” Villepin told reporters. “I will come out of this free and exonerated.” Facing up to five years in jail if convicted, Villepin accuses Sarkozy of being obsessed by the so-called Clearstream case. The president is a plaintiff in what is being dubbed France’s trial of the century.