Chirac may raise mental health as issue

Jan. 31, 2011 at 8:05 AM
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PARIS, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Defense lawyers were expected to raise health issues to try to delay a corruption trial for former French President Jacques Chirac, The Independent reported.

Chirac's defense team was expected to use a procedural hearing Monday to raise the possibility the former president may have Alzheimer's disease, casting doubts about his ability to be tried for corruption next month, the British publication said.

Chirac, 78, is accused of using taxpayer money to finance his political career while mayor of Paris. He was France's president from 1995 to 2007.

Questions about Chirac's health have been raised for more than a year.

The Journal du Dimanche reported recently several of Chirac's friends described him as "declining," with one saying he was a "shadow of the great Chirac I knew." The French weekly reported a friend as saying Chirac's wife "used the word 'Alzheimer's' in my presence."

Alain Minc, an adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy, accused the French publication of an "ethical transgression" for publishing details about a private person's health, saying the articles went against the French law protecting private life, The Independent said.

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