The lawyer for French Polynesian pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru says his trial for allegedly misusing public funds is an insult.
David Koubbi told a weekend congress of Mr Temaru's Tavini Huiraatira party that the trial is a response to Mr Temaru's politics.
Mr Temaru had succeeded in getting the territory reinscribed on the UN's decolonisation list. He's also had French presidents referred to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity over nuclear weapons tests.
The case relates to money misspent by a community association in Faa'a, which ran a local radio station asserting sovereignty rights and denouncing nuclear tests.
The accusations stem from a public accounts audit of 2009 which had not been faulted before.
The party earlier called on its supporters to protest at the court on the day of the trial.
In October, a French court declared Mr Temaru ineligible for a year for campaign spending irregularities, thereby forcing him out of the territorial assembly after more than three decades.
The Tavini campaigned before the territorial election in May on the issue of probity as the ruling Tapura Huiraatira fielded many candidates with corruption convictions, including the president Edouard Fritch and the assembly president Gaston Tong Sang.