(Paris) Éric Zemmour has claimed 3 million euros ($4.4 million) in damages from his former publisher Albin Michel for wrongful breach of contract, in a trial on Wednesday.

Albin Michel had given up, by a letter of June 2021, to publish a sixth book by the polemicist, France did not say its last word, after having published five others.

The publishing house had invoked the author’s intention to “become a politician” and “make his next book a key part of his candidacy” for president, where he was eliminated in the first round.

Mr. Zemmour, through his company, SARL Rubempré, brought the case before the Paris court. He was not in court.

“Albin Michel is unilaterally terminating” a publishing contract signed in 2015, and this “termination is illegal”, Arnaud de Senilhes, the lawyer for the founder of the far-right party Reconquête, told the court.

He also denounced “political censorship”. “Deprived of a publisher, it was impossible to find a publisher in the time allowed to release this book on the date it needed, in September 2021,” he said. “We had to invent ourselves as a publisher.”

Me de Senilhes noted that if it had been edited by Albin Michel, the book “would not have had a spelling error from the first page”, which “spurred dozens of articles”.

The publishing house claims that Mr. Zemmour did not respect the contractual deadlines, namely to submit a manuscript in 2019. However, in the spring of 2021, when no beginning of a manuscript had been transmitted, “suddenly Mr. Zemmour tells us: it’s going to be a campaign book,” explained Albin Michel’s lawyer, Christophe Bigot.

“Mr. Zemmour cannot impose this on his publisher, when the contractual deadline for delivery has expired […] Albin Michel editions respond: no, we are not interested in that”, he added.

For Albin Michel, “all this was remote-controlled”, Mr. Zemmour preferring to self-publish, because “he sees the full potential of his book”.

The book sold 272,000 copies in 2021. Albin Michel estimates that instead of earning 1 million euros ($1.5 million) with this house, by selling 300,000 copies, the author pocketed “almost” twice as much by having it published by Rubempré.

The procedure made it possible to learn that Mr. Zemmour was assisted in the writing of his works by the historian Jacques de Saint Victor.

Judgment was reserved for October 25.