Judge to rule Tuesday on delaying Chirac corruption trial

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A Paris judge said he would rule Tuesday whether to refer the corruption trial of France's former president Jacques Chirac to constitutional authorities, which could entail a delay of several months.

Presiding judge Dominique Pauthe adjourned the first day of hearings in the case -- the first ever trial of a French former president -- while he considers a constitutional request by defendants in the case.

A lawyer representing one of Chirac's co-defendants had asked the judge to refer to France's constitutional court for a ruling on whether the statute of limitations had expired on some of the charges in the case.

Pauthe said the hearings would resume at 1:30 pm (1230 GMT) on Tuesday when he would rule on the request. If he agrees this could delay the trial for several months.

Chirac is accused of embezzling public funds while he was mayor of Paris in the 1990s.

© 2011 AFP

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