The Harju County Court on Tuesday opened Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' (Reform Party) action against sworn lawyer Paul Keres who, when defending former Education Minister Mailis Reps (Center), said that the premier also had the state pay for a birthday party.
"We asked Paul Keres to withdraw his false claims before turning to court, but he refused. We are demanding the retraction of false statements, end to illegal behavior and moral damages in court," Ants Nõmper, managing partner at law firm Ellex Raidla and Kallas' defense counsel, told ERR on Tuesday.
Nõmper said that the action was filed exactly one year ago on December 13, 2021. "The action follows remarks by Keres made on Kuku Raadio's "Sihik" talk show on November 30, 2021, according to which PM Kallas had the Estonian state pay for a birthday celebration, as did Mailis Reps. It is a fact that PM Kallas has not celebrated her birthday on the people's dime," Nõmper said.
Keres told Kuku, when asked to comment on Reps' allegedly state-funded birthday party at the Mon Repos restaurant: "It was not her birthday, it was not her birthday party. Mailis Reps celebrated her birthday with friends and acquaintances at her house. This was an entertainment gathering with political partners. The same kind of so-called birthday party was held by PM Kaja Kallas this year, on June 17, which is her birthday if memory serves – I may have the date wrong here – which is when members of the government and partners received invites, also at the expense of the country."
Gerrit Mäesalu, director of the Prime Minister's Office, told Delfi that the June 17 event had not connection to Kallas' birthday, which is on June 18 and which the PM celebrated with loved ones. "On June 17 was held the government's first dinner together after a four-day government sitting. This would ideally have taken place right after the government was sworn in but was postponed by the coronavirus situation," Mäesalu told Delfi last year.
Kaja Kallas' first government, made up of the Reform Party and Center Party, took office on January 26, 2021, and was dissolved on June 18, 2022, when Kallas formed a new coalition with Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party.
The county court opened Kallas v. Keres on Tuesday afternoon.
"Even though the defender is set to fight the action, we believe the court will rule early next year," Nõmper said.
Viivika Siplane, press representative for Harju County Court, said that it is not possible to say when the court might have a resolution.
Editor: Mait Ots, Marcus Turovski