Crowds hunger for Stern murder trial evidence

Update 07:55  Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) - Popular interest in Cécile Brossard’s trial for the murder of wealthy French banker Edouard Stern in Geneva in 2005 is in little danger of lagging, if the crowds queuing at 08:30 Monday 15 June for the public seats are any indication. The trial’s fourth day ended with Brossard giving “contradictory” testimony, according to TSR. Le Temps Tuesday morning carries a lengthy description of Monday’s session, where Brossard for the first time described in court what happened the night of the murder. Earlier in the day the crowd listened attentively to tape recorded messages Stern left Brossard and to police recordings of phone calls between Brossard and her husband or her friends.

What the Swiss (French) media are saying:

Le Temps refers to the “infernal relationship” between Stern and Brossard in pointing out the change Monday from the teary-eyed Brossard seen last week to the woman Monday who appeared to be made of marble while she listened, first to tender messages left on her cell phone by Stern and later to others that were cruel and crude.

The Tribune de Geneve underscores her lengthy questioning Monday, saying that even when authorized by the court to sit down she remained standing, out of “respect for Edouard.” She returned to the nature of their relationship, the Tribune highlights, saying that in the beginning it was “marvelous, her lover read her poems. Then things began to shift towards a power relationship.”

TSR notes that Brossard’s coolness and calm after the murder is striking and that her greatest concern appears to have been not to appear guilty in the eyes of those around her. Her husband is heard saying several times on the telephone that she must keep the million that Stern put in an account for her [this is presumably before he realizes she murdered Stern]. On the other hand, later Monday a cruel Stern is heard to call her unthinkable names in several phone messages. The question raised by TSR: could there have been any real love in this mix of destruction, obsession and passion? Brossard’s testimony was that yes, it was all about love, at least in the beginning.

20 Minutes focuses on the phrase that triggered Brossard the day of the murder, which she mentioned tearfully in court Monday: he reportedly told her that a million was a lot to pay for a hooker. She told the court that it was the moment that tipped the scales, that made her realize she would never be his wife, carry his name and that she was being used.

French media are also closely following the story. Le Monde’s legal blogger describes Monday as the day when Brossard spoke for the first time in court of their relationship, emphasizing that it was initially about love, then later about power. The plaintiff pushed the million dollars Stern promised and gave, which Brossard promised to return and didn’t, as the motive. The French newspaper ends with the exchange between the defendant and the public prosecutor:

“You can talk to me about that million for hours and hours, but I would never tell you that I loved him for this million. I would have given him my life!” she cried.

“Madame, it’s his life that was taken, by you!” responded severely the public prosecutor.