The corruption trial against Jacques Chirac has started, but the former French president’s doctors said he was too ill to come to court say his doctors.
The question now is whether Chirac, who would be the first head of state to be tried since World War II can be tried in his absence The alternatives are that charges against him are dropped but the trial still goes ahead for his co-defendants, or the case could be thrown out altogether.
Chirac’s doctors told the court the 78-year-old suffers memory lapses that could indicate the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease. The court may seek a second opinion but it is a tricky field.
“You ask someone how are you? How’s the memory? And he replies that he is fine and doesn’t have any particular problems,” explains neurologist Laurent Cohen. “That’s the thing – it’s someone who is not aware of the problems they have.”
Chirac has been liable for trial since his presidency ended in 2007 and with it his presidential immunity.
The case revolves around allegations of illegal party funding during nearly two decades as mayor of Paris.
If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in jail.