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Nicolas Sarkozy’s 3-year Jail Term on Suspension by French Court

Nicolas Sarkozy

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is seen ahead of the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Ajaccio at the Parc des Princes in Paris, on May 13, 2023. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

On Wednesday, a French court of appeals affirmed Nicolas Sarkozy‘s conviction for corruption and influence peddling and sentenced him to three years in jail, two of which would be suspended.

The 68-year-old, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, was also disqualified from holding public office for three years because he tried to speak with a judge on a covert line that was tapped in order to learn more about a judicial inquiry.

The 68-year-old did not speak as he left the courthouse, but his attorney announced that they would appeal the ruling to France’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation.

Nicolas Sarkozy, who held president from 2007 to 2012 for one term, has faced legal issues ever since he left.

When a court determined that he and his former attorney, Thierry Herzog, had created a “corruption pact” with judge Gilbert Azibert to gain and share information about a legal inquiry, he was made to serve a prison time in March 2021, making him the first French postwar president to get such a punishment.

The trial was held after authorities wiretapped Nicolas Sarkozy’s two official lines and learned that he additionally had a third, unauthorized line, which he had obtained in 2014 under the name “Paul Bismuth,” through which he spoke with Herzog.

The 2021 corruption verdict was based on the conversational content of these communications.

The former leader promptly appealed and denied the charges.

Sarkozy said he had “never corrupted any” on the opening day of the appeals hearing in December of last year.

The court heard his chats with Herzog, which are anticipated to be crucial in Wednesday’s decision.

Two more instances

One of the investigations into the guy dubbed the “hyper-president” while in power is the alleged Bismuth issue.

Sarkozy will be prosecuted again in the so-called Bygmalion case, for which he was originally given a one-year prison sentence, starting in November 2023.

The prosecution charged Nicolas Sarkozy’s staff with exceeding the allowed spending limit on his extravagant 2012 re-election campaign by utilizing fictitious invoices from the public relations agency Bygmalion. He has said he did nothing wrong.

And on Thursday, French prosecutors ordered that he stand trial again for the suspected Libyan financing of his 2007 election campaign.

Financial crimes prosecutors said Nicolas Sarkozy and 12 other people should go on trial on claims they asked the regime of then-Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi for millions of euros in finance for the ultimately successful campaign.

Nicolas Sarkozy denies all allegations of corruption, illicit campaign financing, and hiding the theft of public monies.

The decision on whether or not to proceed with that trial rests with the investigating magistrates.

Sarkozy still has a lot of popularity and influence on the right of French politics despite his legal issues, and regularly speaks with President Emmanuel Macron.

Prior to Sarkozy, only Jacques Chirac, the president before him, had been found guilty in a criminal prosecution. Chirac was given a two-year suspended sentence for corruption in connection with a scandal involving phony jobs during his tenure as mayor of Paris in 2011.

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