Court Tosses Bid by Sarkozy's Ex-Wife to Block Publication With Disparaging Quotes

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A Paris court on Friday rejected 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 the book, 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.

Michele Cahen, a lawyer for Cecilia Sarkozy, said she would appeal the decision. She added that Cecilia denied making many comments that appear in the book.

"What is very serious is that the journalist puts phrases in quotes and attributes them to Cecilia Sarkozy, though she never said them," Cahen said.

She added that Cecilia Sarkozy had turned down an offer to collaborate on the book and had protested its publication as soon as she heard it was coming out.

"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.

Cahen said that she personally had not read the other two books.

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 insisted 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, another 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, divorced less than three months ago, hinted this week that he planned to marry Bruni.

Click here to view the pictures of Sarkozy and Bruni.

Until news of the Sarkozys' marital troubles broke in 2005, Cecilia Sarkozy was a constant figure at her husband's side.

The two split for a few months in 2005, and Paris Match magazine published photos of Cecilia Sarkozy in New York with events organizer Richard Attias. When she eventually returned to her husband she chose not to play such a public role in his political life.

Throughout the election campaign and in the months following the election, Cecilia Sarkozy seemed ill at ease as first lady. She did not cast a ballot in the runoff and rarely appeared with her husband in public during his first months in office. After weeks of rumors, the Elysee Palace announced Oct. 18 that the couple had divorced by mutual consent.