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La Provence's photographer Valerie Suau denies that she took the topless photos of Kate Middleton. (Credit: La Provence, screenshot)

Last year, French magazine Closer published topless pictures of Kate Middleton (aka the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William’s wife) sunbathing on a terrace of a house during a vacation.  Middleton and her husband ended up getting an injunction against Closer republishing the photos, and sued over invasion of privacy.

While other outlets (including The Irish Daily Star) also published the photos and the palace has slammed photos of Middleton’s “baby bump” in the meantime, news about the invasion of privacy lawsuit has been pretty quiet.  The BBC reported that Closer wouldn’t ID who gave the magazine the photos, which might explain why it has been so long since any news surfaced in the investigation.

But the French newspaper La Provence reported this week in an April 25 report that it is being investigated by French prosecutors over the photos. According to La Provence, a daily newspaper based in Marseille,

“The newspaper, through its Chief Executive Officer Marc Aubertin, has also been indicted this week by another investigator for bringing to public attention the photograph taken by the journalist.”

Also, prosecutors are investigating La Provence photographer Valerie Suau, who the newspaper admits did take pictures of Middleton. But La Provence said Suau’s photos didn’t show Middleton topless and weren’t the ones published by Closer.  Further, La Provence questioned how the investigation is being run, writing:

“In the meantime, the newspaper PROVENCE and Mrs. SUAU can only wonder at the judicial treatment of this case: the criminal path chosen by the complainants and the prosecutor in Nanterre, which opened a criminal investigation jointly entrusted to two magistrates instructors, appears completely disproportionate to the well innocuous photograph published by PROVENCE.”

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Prosecutors are also investigating Mondadori’s CEO Ernesto Mauri according to the UK Telegraph. Mondadori is Closer’s publisher.

NBC News explained the advantage to investigating Suau and Auburtin. “By placing Suau and Auburtin under investigation, investigating judges can formally interrogate them in the presence of lawyers. French judges will then decide whether there is enough evidence to call for a trial,” NBC News reported.

The Huffington Post quoted a spokesperson for a Nanterre prosecutor saying that if convicted, the three could end up in jail and with hefty fines.  The spokesperson told The Huffington Post :

“The maximum penalty for this kind of offence is one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for individuals.  For corporate bodies, the fine is 45,000 euros, cessation of business for five years and public notification of the decision.”

iMediaEthics has written to La Provence asking for more information about the investigation and Suau’s photos.  An email has also been sent to Mondadori asking about Mauri’s involvement in the photos and the investigation. We’ll update with any responses.

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Kate Middleton Topless Pics Photographer Could go to Jail

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