JUSTICE The lawyer for the president of Nîmes metropolis: “Franck Proust had no interest, he derived no benefit, no advantage”

It is 7:37 p.m. this Wednesday, February 9, the legal proceedings before the Nîmes correctional court of appeal are closed. The deliberation concerning the so-called Senim affair, almost two decades old, will be delivered in two months, on April 14 precisely.

Two months that will seem endless, especially for the current president of the Agglomeration of Nîmes, Franck Proust, who can play his political future with this highly anticipated stop.

Franck Proust leaving the Nîmes court (Photo archives: Boris de la Cruz)

After two days of debates and pleadings, the Advocates General considered that the offenses with which the five defendants, entrepreneurs, property developer and the elected representative of Nîmes were accused, were constituted and were worth convictions for all. Suspended prison sentences of course, but sanctions requested for acts of corruption and arrangement between business leaders on public markets in the city of Nîmes.

This story began in May 2001. A few days later President Jacques Chirac was re-elected. He said: it must be pschitt. And I ask you to make this case pschitt”, pleads the lawyer of Franck Proust, master Philippe Expert. His client is the one who risks the most if a civil and civil law ban is pronounced by the Nîmes jurisdiction. His political career could end while the other defendants for whom suspended prison sentences are also being sought are retired.

It’s unbearable to ask judges to rule under conditions like this, more than 20 years later, you realize, important witnesses have died. “For 20 years, every time Franck Proust raises his finger, he is reminded of this story of the Senimunderlines with conviction his lawyer Me Expert. He can do nothing, say nothing without being reproached for what he has not done because there is no pact of corruption, no tortious maneuver by Mr. Proust. »

And to continue his argument: In what justice are we? I have the feeling of being in an impressionist painting with your story Mr Prosecutor where you take small pieces, small touches with old cases and you compose a painting at the end. You do not prove anything about any alleged offense. Franck Proust had no interest, he got no profit, no advantage and there was no arrangement, you can’t prove anything“, continues Master Expert. Politics is a terrible exercise today. There’s always suspicion on you“.

And the very presence of the Anticor association lets something terrible hover, corrupt elected officials, ” considers for his part the lawyer of the prosecuted promoter. “What are the specific facts that allow us to evoke influence peddling? Nothing, it’s emptiness! », estimates master Guillaume Barnier for the prosecuted promoter. All the lawyers have absolutely refuted the slightest offence. They now have two more months to wait to find out if their arguments on the merits of the case have hit the mark.

Unless the court considers that the “reasonable time” of the procedure has been exceeded as estimated by the Nîmes criminal court seven months ago. A reasonable time often mentioned during this hearing and for which the Advocate General returned at length this Wednesday afternoon, perhaps sensing a fragility of the file on this criterion of nullity? Reply on April 14…

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