Jacques Chirac's Paris Corruption Trial Halted

A Paris court has suspended the corruption trial of France's former President, Jacques Chirac, in response to a legal challenge. A lawyer for one of nine co-defendants had argued that it was unconstitutional to merge two cases arising from Mr Chirac's tenure as mayor of Paris.

A Paris court has suspended the corruption trial of France's former President, Jacques Chirac, in response to a legal challenge.

A lawyer for one of nine co-defendants had argued that it was unconstitutional to merge two cases arising from Mr Chirac's tenure as mayor of Paris.

Mr Chirac denies embezzlement, breach of trust and conflict of interestThe judge, Dominique Pauthe, said the court would reconvene on 20 June.

Mr Chirac denies paying members of his RPR party between 1977 and 1995 for municipal jobs that did not exist.

He is the first French ex-head of state to face a criminal trial since wartime leader Field Marshal Philippe Petain was convicted of treason.

The two cases centre on the latter years of Mr Chirac's time as Paris mayor. In the first, brought by Paris investigators, he is charged with embezzlement and breach of trust over the employment of 21 so-called "ghost" jobs.

The second came about from a separate investigation in the Paris suburb of Nanterre and involved the charge of illegal conflict of interest relating to seven ghost jobs.

A lawyer representing co-defendant Remy Chardon complained that the two cases had been brought together because the statute of limitations had run out on the first Paris case.

The judge ruled that his complaint would have to be considered by France's highest court, the Court of Cassation.

Jacques Chirac has denied any knowledge of corrupt payments used to fund his political party in the 1990s

That court will then have to decide whether to refer the case to France's Constitutional Council.

BBC