Top actor skips drunk charge
MYSTERY MEETING: French actor Gerard Depardieu (L) and Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic met on Tuesday January 8, 2013, when Depardieu was expected to appear in court.
PARIS, France - In the past few days (Jan 5-8) actor Gerard Depardieu has met Russian president Vladimir Putin to seek Russian citizenship, was given a prime seat at soccer's biggest annual gala in Switzerland and then dashed off to Montenegro.
But during all this whirlwind travel he didn't manage to show up at a Paris court on January 8 2013 to face drunken driving charges. His lawyer said the actor had a vital meeting abroad for an upcoming film.
The 64-year-old Frenchman actor was in Montenegro meeting with that country's prime minister, it turns out.
The lawyer insisted that Depardieu, who has threatened to renounce his French citizenship and turn in his passport and social security card, wasn't trying to dodge justice.
Still, the hearing on a relatively minor charge was elevated to a criminal court.
French star Gerard Depardieu hit back. He said he was ready to appear before the tribunal "when they want".
"I fled from neither the court nor from justice," Depardieu told reporters after meeting with Montenegrin prime minister Milo Djukanovic.
Depardieu said the trip to Montenegro "had already been planned".
"I informed the court, I never fled. I am ready to appear when they want, on the condition that I am there and that I can defend myself.”