The trial of André Lutgen will resume on Tuesday 23 November. Or rather, it will start again, since the procedure will be resumed from scratch following the abstention of the president of the 7th chamber of the district court of Luxembourg and a new fixation before another chamber. Three hearings are planned.
“We regret that this settling of scores between magistrates has led to this postponement,” François Prum, André Lutgen's lawyer with Maximilien Lehnen, explained to Delano's sister publication Paperjam. “This while our client is awaiting acquittal. The defendant is a victim here.” Their line of defence for their colleague, charged with intimidation and contempt of court, will remain the same.
“To prosecute, in the name of the independence of justice and the principle of the separation of powers, a lawyer for 'intimidation of a magistrate' because he took the initiative to address a member of the government is a frontal attack on the independence of the lawyer and the free choice of his means of action," Prum had already explained. He continues to assert that “the separation of powers is not the lawyer's responsibility, he doesn't even care, he can write to whoever he wants.”
Following an accident at work, an email sent by André Lutgen to the State Prosecutor and the Ministers of Justice and Economy was not to the liking of the investigating judge, Filipe Rodrigues, who was in charge of the case. The latter had filed a complaint for attempted intimidation and contempt. Against all expectations, the lawyer was charged and then sent back to court.
New mobilisation of lawyers
Stunned, worried and in solidarity with their colleague, many lawyers were present at the opening of the first trial. The Luxembourg association of criminal lawyers has again called for a mobilisation next Tuesday.
One of the reasons why the investigating judge had filed a complaint against Lutgen was that his e-mail could potentially harm his career in the judiciary. This fear is clearly unfounded at present. Despite this e-mail and the first trial, his mandate as an investigating judge at the Luxembourg District Court was extended for three years. Signed on 7 September, the decree was published in the Mémorial on 17 September and took effect on 1 November.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.