Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty of corruption and influence peddling on Monday and sentenced to three years in prison.
But the judge in the case suspended two years of the 66-year-old Sarkozy’s sentence, leaving one year to be served. Sarkozy can ask to serve that time at home and also plans to appeal, The Associated Press reported.
The Paris court found that Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was guilty of trying to bribe a magistrate in exchange for information about a legal case in which he was implicated, the AP reported.
“In a Monday afternoon ruling, the court agreed with prosecutors that the former president formed a ‘corruption pact’ with his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and a senior magistrate to secure a job for the magistrate in exchange for providing information on an investigation into Sarkozy,” The Hill reported.
“Sarkozy is the first former French president to appear in court on criminal charges. While his predecessor, the late Jacques Chirac, was convicted of diversion of public funds in 2011, Chirac’s poor health kept him from appearing in court. Sarkozy is set to appear again later this year in connection with separate allegations of overspending during his unsuccessful 2012 reelection campaign,” said the Washington, D.C.-based political website
The court found that Sarkozy and his co-defendants made a “pact of corruption” and that his conviction was based on “consistent and serious evidence.” And the court called the charges “particularly serious” in light of the fact that the acts were committed by a former president for his own personal gain, noting that Sarkozy knew he was breaking the law.
“Sarkozy did not deny offering to help Azibert get a job in Monaco — but he firmly refuted that he had done anything wrong during the 10-day trial at the end of last year,” said the AP. “Seated on a chair facing the judges and wearing a mask largely hiding his face, Sarkozy showed no reaction when the verdict was read out, and quickly left the courtroom.”
“What insane harassment, my love,” his wife Carla Bruni said in a post on Instagram. “The fight goes on, truth will see the light.”
During his trial, Sarkozy said he had been persecuted. “You have in front of you a man of whom more that 3,700 private conversations have been wiretapped. … What did I do to deserve that?” Sarkozy said. But the court ruled that the use of wiretapped conversations was legal as they were evidence of the alleged corruption-related offenses.
Sarkozy faces another trial later this month and is also under investigation in a third case. In one, his conservative party and a company called Bygmalion “are accused of using a special invoice system to conceal allegedly spending 42.8 million euros ($50.7 million) — almost twice the maximum authorized,” the AP said. “In another investigation opened in 2013, Sarkozy is accused of having taken millions from then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to illegally finance his successful 2007 campaign.”
SOURCE - By Joseph Curl