Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife can't stop book

January 14, 2008 12:37:01 PM PST
A Paris court rejected Friday a bid by President Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife, Cecilia, to block publication of a book that says she called her former husband "ridiculous" and a womanizer.

The former first lady's lawyers argued that the book by journalist Anna Bitton, called "Cecilia. A Portrait," violated her private life, and asked the court to ban it. Cecilia Sarkozy is quoted as calling the president a "womanizer," "cheap" and "ridiculous," in private meetings with the author, according to excerpts published this week.

The court threw out the complaint, ruling that a ban "would be totally disproportionate, all the more so because the book is already on sale." The book appeared in bookstores Thursday.

Lawyer Michelle Cahen said she would appeal the decision.

"Cecilia. A Portrait" is one of three books coming out this week about the former first lady, who divorced Sarkozy in October after a long rocky spell in their 11-year marriage.

The judge noted that Cecilia Sarkozy had discussed her relationship with her ex-husband in two interviews after her divorce, suggesting she was not seeking to keep her private life secret.

The author's lawyer, Christophe Bigot, argued that the Sarkozys had made their private life public as part of their effort to get him elected president.

He also said the book was not insulting to Cecilia Sarkozy, although it calls her a shopping addict who complains that her alimony payments are too low for her lifestyle.

Cecilia Sarkozy had known the journalist for a long time and treated her as a friend, said Jean-Yves Dupeux, a lawyer for the former first lady. He said the lawyers argued in court that the book went "beyond transgression of the intimacy of the private life of Madame Sarkozy."

Sarkozy's latest love interest - former model Carla Bruni - has dominated front pages in recent weeks. The president hinted this week that they plan to marry.