A highly respected figure at the Luxembourg bar, André Lutgen was fined €2,000 by the Luxembourg district court on Thursday morning for contempt of court. He must also pay a symbolic €1 to the civil party--investigating judge Filipe Rodrigues.
Lutgen's lawyers, who had pleaded for his acquittal, have already announced that they will appeal. “This conviction is unacceptable,” said François Prum in a press release. First of all, “André Lutgen is of the opinion that he did not commit any contempt”. But also, because the judgment is “incompatible with a lawyer's independence which is the fundamental principle of the legal profession. But also with the fundamental rights of André Lutgen.”
This chapter is therefore not the last in what appears to be a judicial saga. But it says a lot about the increasingly tense relations between lawyers and the judiciary.
The case arose when an email sent by Lutgen, following an accident at work, to the state prosecutor and to the justice and economy ministers was not to the liking of the investigating judge, Filipe Rodrigues, who was in charge of this case. He filed a complaint for attempted intimidation and contempt. Against all expectations, the lawyer was charged and had to appear in court.
The first hearing, before the 7th correctional chamber, was short-lived, as the president was the subject of a request for recusal.
A new trial took place before another chamber. It was this chamber that ended up convicting the lawyer.
The whole legal community was very worried about the outcome of this trial, one of the issues being the lawyer's freedom to act, particularly in terms of his choice of defence. Lutgen also received strong support throughout the trial.
One of the fears expressed by Rodrigues, that the emails sent by André Lutgen would harm his career, proved to be unfounded as his mandate as an investigating magistrate was extended for three years on 1 November.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.