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German court: widow not entitled to damages awarded to Kohl

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BERLIN (AP) — A German federal court ruled on Monday that the widow of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl isn’t entitled to 1 million euros ($1.1 million) in damages that the country’s late leader was awarded in a legal battle with his one-time ghostwriter.

Kohl was awarded the damages shortly before he died in 2017 by a Cologne court, which found that the ghostwriter had violated his privacy rights.

Kohl argued that journalist Heribert Schwan had included comments in his 2014 unauthorized biography “Legacy: The Kohl Records” that the ex-chancellor told him in confidence. Schwan and Kohl had worked on several volumes of memoirs but then parted ways.

The quotes in question came partially from recorded interviews conducted in 2001 and 2002, when Kohl — who led the country from 1982 to 1998 — was under pressure in a party financing scandal. His unflattering comments about other politicians drew widespread attention.

The case continued to make its way through the legal system after the death of Kohl, who had sought a larger award. His widow, Maike Kohl-Richter, pursued it as Kohl’s sole heir.

On Monday, the Federal Court of Justice upheld a 2018 ruling and found that Kohl-Richter has no claim to the award because such damages can’t be inherited. It found no special circumstances in this case that would change that.


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