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Court Bans Book by Mitterrand's Doctor on Illness

January 19, 1996| Reuters

PARIS — A Paris court Thursday banned a tell-all book by Francois Mitterrand's physician disclosing that the former French president who died last week kept secret his cancer for a decade and that he was too sick to serve for part of his second term.

Mitterrand's family had asked the court to block sales of "Le Grand Secret"--"The Big Secret"--by Dr. Claude Gubler, arguing that its publication Wednesday had breached the doctor's vow of medical secrecy and invaded the late president's privacy.

Gubler's attorney, Bernard Cahen, had argued that the public had a right to know about the president's health. The doctor said Mitterrand had intended the truth to come out eventually.

The book's publisher, Plon, said all 40,000 copies of its first printing had been sold in 24 hours and an undisclosed number of additional copies were on order.

But Judge Jacqueline Cochard ruled that the company would be fined the equivalent of $200--10 times the book's sale price--for each copy sold following her ruling.

Mitterrand, who died of prostate and bone cancer at 79, left office in May after two seven-year terms as president.

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