French President Hollande's partner sues glossy magazines

PARIS Thu Sep 6, 2012 1:50pm EDT

France's President Francois Hollande (R) and his companion Valerie Trierweiler visit the Jean Vilar house during the Avignon Festival, southern France, July 15, 2012. REUTERS/Claude Paris/Pool

France's President Francois Hollande (R) and his companion Valerie Trierweiler visit the Jean Vilar house during the Avignon Festival, southern France, July 15, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Claude Paris/Pool

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PARIS (Reuters) - Valerie Trierweiler, the partner of French President Francois Hollande, is suing three glossy magazines for breach of privacy after they published photographs of the presidential couple in bathing suits, her lawyer said on Thursday.

The magazines - Closer, Voici and Public - printed paparazzi photographs of the couple on their covers that were taken at a distance while Hollande and Trierweiler were holidaying at Fort Bregancon, a presidential retreat off France's southern coast.

Another magazine that also published the pictures, VSD, was found guilty of breach of privacy on Tuesday and ordered to pay Trierweiler a 2,000 euro ($2,500) fine, well short of the 30,000 euros she had requested, a senior VSD editor told Reuters.

"We have launched three other suits against three gossip magazines: Closer, Voici and Public," Frederique Giffard, Trierweiler's lawyer, told Europe 1 radio.

French law is among the most protective of people's right to privacy in Europe and celebrities are routinely awarded damages over the publication of paparazzi pictures. Courts typically demand that magazines publish the ruling on their front cover.

"We decided to pursue magazines that published the photos on their covers and which tried to sell, to catch the reader's eye with these photos," the lawyer added.

Trierweiler's out-of-wedlock relationship with Hollande is a source of fascination in France, prompting the publication of three books exploring her testy relations with Segolene Royal, his previous partner and the mother of his four children.

A journalist for Paris Match magazine who remained on its staff after Hollande's election in May, she chose not to sue her employer despite the magazine publishing a photograph from the same vacation series.

Giffard said Paris Match was not sued because the magazine had been more discrete.

"There is no exception when it comes to Trierweiler's employer," she said, adding that Public is owned by the Lagardere media group, which also owns Paris Match.

(Reporting By Chine Labbe; Writing by Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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