The Latest: French candidate Fillon says he's 'honest'

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Posted: Feb 06, 2017 10:49 AM
The Latest: French candidate Fillon says he's 'honest'

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the scandal surrounding French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon says he is "honest" and the scandal over his wife's well-paid job as his assistant landed on him like "a clap of thunder."

Fillon told a news conference that "I would like to say to the French (primary voters) that their choice cannot be taken away from them. They will not be silenced." He acknowledged that his political program, which includes slashing 500,000 public sector jobs, "upsets people." But he said that "it is the only one that can give confidence back to the French."

Fillon's popularity has dropped in the past two weeks following revelations by the Canard Enchaine newspaper alleging that his wife was paid 830,000 euros ($900,000) over 15 years.

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4:30 p.m.

French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon says he won't withdraw from the race amid a scandal surrounding his wife's well-paid job as his assistant.

Fillon told a news conference that he didn't act illegally and he will publish his assets on the internet later Monday. But he apologized to the French people for employing his wife, saying that giving work to your family is a practice that is now rejected.

Fillon said "it was a mistake."

Fillon's popularity has dropped in the past two weeks following revelations by the Canard Enchaine newspaper alleging that his wife was paid 830,000 euros ($900,000) over 15 years.

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4:20 p.m.

French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon has denied that he acted illegally in a scandal surrounding his wife's well-paid job as his assistant.

Fillon told a news conference that "all acts evoked (in the press) are legal and transparent."

The candidate said "I have nothing to hide" and the accusations are "unfounded."

Fillon was once considered the front-runner in France's two-round April-May presidential vote. Prosecutors are investigating the well-paid political jobs he gave to his wife, son and daughter to see if they actually did any work.

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12:15 p.m.

French conservative Francois Fillon is scrambling to save his presidential bid as prosecutors investigated the well-paid political jobs he gave to his wife, son and daughter to see if they actually did any work.

Fillon, once considered the front-runner in France's two-round April-May presidential vote, was holding a news conference later Monday at his campaign headquarters in Paris.

The preliminary probe involves suspicions of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.

Fillon's popularity has dropped in the past two weeks following revelations by the Canard Enchaine newspaper alleging that his wife was paid 830,000 euros ($900,000) over 15 years. The Paris prosecutor's office on Thursday expanded its investigation to include Fillon's son and daughter.

Fillon, who campaigns as an upstanding family man, has denied any wrongdoing.