NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
17th March, 1914 : Madame Caillaux, wife of the French Finance Minister, was invited to dine at the Italian Embassy. Instead, she went to the offices of the Le Figaro newspaper, demanded to see the editor, Gaston Calmette, and shot him dead. She then coolly sent a message to the Embassy saying she was held up. The right-wing Le Figaro is attacking her husband, Joseph Caillaux, a radical, for planning to tax the rich. Calmette threatened to publish compromising letters written by Caillaux to his wife.
[ I am not trying to suggest that violent dealings with inconvenient journalists is a Parisian tradition.
“The letter seemed to suggest that improprieties had been committed by Caillaux – in it he appeared to admit having orchestrated the rejection of a tax bill while publicly pretending to support its passage.” Yes, nothing new under the sun.
“She was defended by the prominent attorney Fernand Labori who convinced the jury that her crime, which she did not deny, was not a premeditated act but that her uncontrollable female emotions resulted in a crime of passion. The belief that women were not as strong emotionally as men resulted in her acquittal on 28 July 1914. .. In the early 1930s she was awarded a diploma of the École du Louvre for her thesis on the sculptor Jules Dalou. She died in 1943.”]