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Thomas A. Sancton/Paris

Not with a bang but a whimper. That’s how the intensive two-year investigation into the death of PRINCESS DIANA and DODI FAYED wound up as French magistrates dropped all charges against the photographers who pursued the couple on the night of the crash. The real culprit, say French officials, was driver HENRI PAUL, whose state of inebriation and medication made him lose control of the car on a dangerous stretch of road. But Dodi’s father Mohammed al Fayed, billionaire owner of the Paris Ritz, is appealing the decision to drop charges. Convinced that Princess Diana was murdered to prevent a marriage with his Muslim son, al Fayed is desperate to air his conspiracy theories in court. He wants the British inquests into the exact causes of Diana’s and Dodi’s deaths to be held jointly, which would allow him to testify at Diana’s inquest, and to hold the hearings before a jury. The two coroners in the case have turned him down on both counts, but al Fayed is appealing. Meanwhile, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, among others, could sue al Fayed’s Ritz for civil damages for allowing its improperly licensed and drunken security chief to take the wheel of the Mercedes.

–By Thomas Sancton/Paris

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