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Chirac Trial Postponed Until June


Former French President Jacques Chirac leaves his office in Paris, March 7, 2011

Former French President Jacques Chirac leaves his office in Paris, March 7, 2011

A French court has postponed the trial of former French president Jacques Chirac on charges of embezzling public funds.

Presiding Judge Dominique Pauthe ruled Tuesday that the trial is suspended until June 20 while the Constitutional Court is consulted on whether some of the charges are too old to be admissible.

Chirac is charged with misusing public funds while serving as mayor of Paris, from 1977 to 1995.

The conflict-of-interest charges allege that the 78-year-old former president used City Hall or construction company funds to pay friends and allies for non-existent jobs. He is also charged with using city funds to pay his political aides.

Chirac, who was not present for the proceedings, has denied any wrongdoing during his tenure as mayor. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $210,000.

Nine other people are going on trial alongside Chirac, accused of benefiting from the alleged scheme.

Chirac will be the first French former head of state to go on trial since France's Nazi-era leader, Marshal Petain, was exiled for treason.

He was immune from prosecution while president from 1995 to 2007.

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