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Chirac Is Healthy Enough for French Trial, Wife Tells Europe1

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Jacques Chirac’s wife said the former French President is healthy enough to stand trial in March on charges he gave fictitious City Hall jobs to supporters during his term as mayor of Paris.

Bernadette Chirac was asked by Europe1 radio today about reports in the French press that her husband was too ill to participate in the trial, scheduled to start March 7 and conclude April 8.

“He’s 78 so he’s not the same as he used to be. He has trouble walking sometimes. He has trouble sometimes with his memory, and he can be impatient, but that’s nothing new,” Chirac’s wife told the radio station. “If he had Alzheimer’s, I would know about it and would talk about it.”

Chirac will be the first ex-French president to stand trial. He agreed to pay 550,000 euros ($751,000) as part of a settlement with the city of Paris while denying allegations that, during his time as mayor, he awarded City Hall job contracts to people who worked for his Rally for the Republic political party.

Excluding a two-year hiatus when he was prime minister, Chirac led Paris from 1977 to 1995. He was elected president that year, giving him immunity from prosecution until he left office in 2007.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at gviscusi@bloomberg.net; Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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