“I think I was a talented lawyer”

How can you be so genuinely detestable and still manage to remain so devilishly attractive? “I think I was a talented lawyer, perhaps one of the most talented of my time”, dares the illustrious Georges Kiejman, in the preamble to his autobiography, written with the journalist of the “World” Vanessa Schneider. The insatiable appetite for life is the guideline of this story and of this man, whose father died in Auschwitz.

In 1966, he was a “young” lawyer – in a Paris bar which has only 2,000 souls against 30,000 today – who, in a criminal file, went there ” with [son] temperament and [son] instinct, nagging, never giving up “. Lawyer, he will be both the defender of the Cinémathèque, a pleader against a judge, who ” embodied smiling censorship,” and central pivot of several major French cases, the latest being his defense of Liliane Bettencourt.

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“Serious criminals who are also intellectuals, I have not met many in my life”, he breathes to talk about Pierre Goldman, whom he saved from life imprisonment. Like him, a Polish Jew born in France, Kiejman writes here only memories that have become luminous. If he has not digested the monumental fees granted by the family of Liliane Bettencourt to the lawyers who were his opponents – 12 million euros, 10 times more than him and that he does not omit to quote the note of fees that Nicolas Sarkozy forgot to regulate to him, he perceived for a long time that the essence is elsewhere.

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” I realize, he repeats here several times, that nothing beats the emotions I have felt in the company of women. » But Françoise Giroud, Marie-France Pisier, the journalist Laure de Broglie and others still do not hide the resounding files, the political fights, her ministerial passage nor especially Simone Signoret, François Truffaut, Claude Gallimard, Pierre Mendès France or all those who have made his exceptional career shine. At almost 90 years old, Georges Kiejman portrays himself as “self-taught who hides his flaws and shortcomings behind a false assurance and a superficial arrogance”, in “lover of truth” ready for anything “a good formula”. That of this book is undoubtedly the most successful.

The man who wanted to be loved, by Georges Kiejman and Vanessa Schneider, Grasset, 256 p., 20 euros.

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