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S P E C I A L S: Diana: A Remembrance
Diana: A Nation Mourns

Al Fayed meets with judge probing Diana crash

Al Fayed
Al Fayed outside the Palais de Justice  

Millionaire asks that investigation include white Fiat

In this story:

March 12, 1998
Web posted at: 9:23 p.m. EST (0223 GMT)

PARIS (CNN) -- Mohamed Al Fayed met Thursday for the first time with the French judge investigating the crash that killed his son Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana, and asked for an investigation into the possibility that their car was struck by a white Fiat.

A smiling Al Fayed was met by a huge media throng as he emerged from the Palais de Justice and described the two-hour talk with Judge Herve Stephan as "great."

One of his lawyers, Georges Kiejman, said Al Fayed was "satisfied by everything explained to him" by the judge.

CNN's Jim Bittermann reports
icon 1 minute, 46 second VXtreme video

Kiejman said a request had been made for "additional investigations," and that Al Fayed specifically wanted to know more about the theory that the couple's car collided with another vehicle -- possibly a white Fiat -- before slamming into a pillar in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel.

The official investigation has focused so far on driver Henri Paul, who was also killed in the accident. Blood tests showed he was legally drunk and had taken two prescription drugs.

Al Fayed has said he does not believe the crash was an accident, or that Paul's drunkenness and the limousine's high speed were responsible for the accident. Paul worked for Al Fayed.

'Total confidence' in investigation

He told a British tabloid, The Mirror, last month that he believed the crash was a plot by people who did not want to see his son with the princess. Al Fayed told The Mirror he thought the couple's car was deliberately driven off the road in the tunnel and may have been sideswiped by a white Fiat Uno.

Al Fayed asked that the investigation include the possibility a white Fiat was involved  

The multi-millionaire Egyptian, who owns Harrods department store in London and the Ritz Hotel in Paris, had hired his own investigators to look into the crash. They have been searching for a Fiat Uno with no apparent success.

French investigators have reportedly discovered no evidence to support a conspiracy theory. And Al Fayed's lawyer made a point Thursday of saying that his client was not trying to conduct his own private investigation.

Kiejman said the main objective of the meeting with Stephan had been to inform Al Fayed, who requested the meeting, about the progress of the investigation.

"Mr. Al Fayed was informed by the judge about the investigation and expressed his total confidence in the investigating judge and the competence of the police personnel," Kiejman said.

Judge meets with bodyguard for 4th time

Last week, Stephan met for the fourth time with bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, the sole survivor of the crash.

Ritz Hotel Video
Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed talk with Henri Paul before leaving the Ritz  

Rees-Jones' French lawyer, Christian Curtil, said his client, who suffered amnesia from severe head injuries, was gradually recalling more about events immediately before and after the crash.

Rees-Jones was recently quoted -- in an interview arranged by Al Fayed in The Mirror -- as saying Diana was conscious and mumbled Dodi's name after the accident.

In the same interview, Rees-Jones also said two cars and a motorbike were chasing the Mercedes after it left the Ritz Hotel, and that Paul did not appear to have been drinking before taking the wheel.

Correspondent Jim Bittermann contributed to this report.


The Death of Princess Diana


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