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French Court OKs Book on Ex-First Lady

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PIERRE-ANTOINE SOUCHARD | January 11, 2008 02:14 PM EST | AP

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PARIS — President Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife lost a legal battle Friday to stop publication of a book in which she allegedly called her former husband "cheap" and a "womanizer."

The ruling is the latest episode in the French leader's highly publicized romantic life. He suggested this week that he and his latest love interest, former model Carla Bruni, are on the verge of tying the knot.

And his former wife, Cecilia Sarkozy, and their 11-year marriage are the subject of three books that hit bookstores this week, generating buzz about the president's private life three months after they divorced.

Her lawyers asked a court to ban one of them, "Cecilia," saying it violated her private life. The author, journalist Anna Bitton, quotes Cecilia Sarkozy as calling the president a "womanizer," "cheap" and "ridiculous."

The court threw out the complaint Friday, ruling that a ban "would be totally disproportionate." The book went on sale Thursday.

Michele Cahen, a lawyer for Cecilia Sarkozy, said she would appeal the decision, adding that the former first lady denied making many comments that appear in the book. Cahen said she personally had not read the other two books.

The judge noted that Cecilia Sarkozy had discussed her relationship with her ex-husband in two interviews after her divorce, suggesting she was not seeking to keep her private life secret.

The author's lawyer, Christophe Bigot, argued that the Sarkozys had made their private life public as part of their effort to get him elected president.

He also insisted the book was not insulting to Cecilia Sarkozy, although it calls her a shopping addict who complains that her alimony payments are too low for her lifestyle.

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Associated Press Writer Angela Doland in Paris contributed to this report.