The trial of former French president – A Paris court sentenced Sarkozy to prison

The 66-year-old is the first former French president to be sentenced to prison. Due to bribery and unauthorized influence, it is three years, two of which are idle.

Nicolas Sarkozy still has a chance to appeal the ruling.

Photo: Christophe Beatty (Keystone / 23 Nov 2020)

Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to three years in prison for bribery and wrongful influence. Of these, two years will be suspended, Agence France-Presse reported on Monday from the Palace of Justice in Paris. The 66-year-old will likely not have to go to prison as the sentence can be served at home under electronic surveillance.

Sarkozy wants to appeal his conviction. This was announced by his lawyer, Jacqueline Lafont, in Paris on Monday. La Fontaine said the verdict was “extremely harsh” and “unjustified”.

The judges have also sentenced Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and lawyer Gilbert Azibert, to three years in prison, as well as with two years of probation. The negotiations in the court caused a sensation in France at the end of last year.

According to the indictment in 2014, Sarkozy tried to obtain investigation secrets about Herzog from attorney Azibert. The prosecution argued that this behavior endangered the independence of the judiciary in its essence.

Nicolas Sarkozy, 66, is the first former President of the Republic to be sentenced to prison. The prosecution demanded that Sarkozy be sentenced to four years in prison, two of which are suspended. But the defense pleaded not guilty. “I have never committed the slightest bribery,” Sarkozy said in court.

A political conspiracy?

If he believes Sarkozy, the trial is the result of a political conspiracy against him. The left-wing judiciary is being targeted by the governor. With this justification, Sarkozy declares that all measures taken against him are unfounded. Prosecution of illegal funding for his 2012 election campaign, investigation of potential donations of millions from Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to the 2007 election campaign, and the latest suspicion that he found his ex-wife a bogus job in Parliament. Sarkozy says everything was created to harm him. (Read our article on this: Nicolas Sarkozy faces a prison sentence).

Sarkozy, the governor, ruled the Elysee Palace from 2007 to 2012. He rejected these allegations in court at the end of last year. Many civil rights advocates consider him a leadership symbol to this day, even though he no longer has any offices.

The allegations are based on the use of phone calls between the politician and lawyer Herzog. There was a raging debate about the legality of this wiretapping. It is considered a one-time procedure. But it is not the first time that a former president has been indicted. Sarkozy’s predecessor Jacques Chirac received a two-year suspended prison sentence for embezzlement and breach of trust during his tenure as mayor of Paris.

Before a legal hurdle

Sarkozy’s tenure in the Elysee was shaped by his relationships with wealthy friends, over-members of government or favoritism. The former hope of the right had begun his career as mayor. He finally lost to socialist Francois Hollande in 2012. After he resigned, he wanted to be president again five years later – but he failed in the party’s internal selection process.

Sarkozy faces a legal hurdle. Due to his botched campaign expenses, there will be another experiment in the middle of the month. The judiciary is also investigating alleged payments from Libya for its successful 2007 presidential election campaign. Sarkozy rejects all allegations here.

Even “Sarko,” as it is often called, sparked speculation about a possible political comeback. Last summer, he published the memoir “Le Temps des TempĂȘtes” (“The Time of the Storms”), which became a bestseller. Presidents are protected by extensive immunity in France.

SDA / fal

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