French authorities are planning to appeal against the acquittal of former prime minister Dominique De Villepan over allegations of a campaign to smear President Nicholas Sarkozy. “‘I have decided to file an appeal against this decision,’ Jean-Claude Marin told Europe 1 radio. ‘Whatever happens, there will be a second trial.’ A retrial would offer Sarkozy one last chance to see his loathed rival convicted of allegedly orchestrating the campaign against him. De Villepin denounced what he called ‘a political decision” which showed ‘that Nicolas Sarkozy prefers to persevere in his fury, in his hatred’. De Villepin was cleared yesterday of all charges levied during the ‘Clearstream affair’, leaving Sarkozy disappointed and humiliated. It was a dramatic triumph for the debonair, poetry-writing politician, who never ceased to claim he was in court at the whim of a leader who detested him. Standing beneath the arches of the Palais de Justice before journalists and applauding supporters, De Villepin walked free from the court with a smile, declaring his innocence had been recognised after years of ‘rumour and suspicion’.”
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