An unprecedented sentence for a former French president was confirmed on appeal: Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced Wednesday in Paris to three years in prison, one year of which was to be executed with an electronic bracelet, on charges of corruption and influence peddling.
The former strongman of the French Right listened to the decision to sit on the bench of the accused, his jaw clenched. He walked out of the courtroom without making a statement.
Jacqueline Lafont’s lawyer slammed the decision as “staggering”, “unfair and unfair”, and immediately announced that she would file an “appeal to set aside the judgment, an appeal that suspends all proceedings.” […] announce today.”
Nicolas Sarkozy, 68, is the first former French president to be sentenced to prison, after his former mentor Jacques Chirac was given a two-year suspended prison sentence in 2011 in a mock work case in the city of Paris.
His historic lawyer Thierry Herzog, 67, and former Chief Justice Gilbert Azibert, 76, were also found guilty of entering into a “corruption pact” with Nicolas Sarkozy in 2014 and given the same sentence.
The Court of Appeal also issued a three-year ban on Mr. Sarkozy’s civil rights, rendering him ineligible, and for Mr. Azibert, as well as a three-year ban on Mr. Sarkozy’s practice.H Herzog.
MH Their lawyer said Herzog and Mr. Azibert would also appeal to the Court of Cassation.
The Court of Appeal overrode the requests of the Public Prosecution Office, which on December 13 had demanded a three-year suspended prison term in full, for the three defendants – who have always denied any corruption -, confirming the sentences handed down on March 1. , 2021.
The former tenant of the Elysee (2007-2012) had objected “with the greatest force” during the appeal trial to these charges, asserting that he had “never corrupted anyone”.
Mr. Sarkozy “used his status as a former president […] to serve his own interest”, which the Court of Appeal, on the contrary, considers a “misrepresentation” and which “requires a firm criminal response”.
Gilbert Azibert’s behavior “discredited” the judge’s profession, the presiding judge, Sophie Clement, asserted. As for M.H Herzog, “betrayed his oath as a lawyer.”
This case arose out of telephone objections between Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Herzog, his lawyer and longtime friend.
At the end of 2013, the investigative judges in charge of investigating suspicions of Libya financing his 2007 presidential campaign decided to “connect” the two lines of Nicolas Sarkozy. Then they discover an unofficial third streak.
Purchased Jan 2014 with the identity of “Paul Bismuth” – a high school acquaintance of M.H Herzog – It’s only for exchanges between the two men.
For the prosecution, the wiretaps reveal a corruption agreement made with Mr. Azibert, who was general counsel at the Court of Cassation, the highest court in the French judiciary.
In these recordings, which he broadcast for the first time in the appeals trial, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is awaiting the cassation decision in the Bettencourt case, pledges to “bring” the judge or to make a “move” in his favour. The ex-president has already been accused for some time of “abuse of weakness” in relation to L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt: he finally benefited in 2013 from dismissal “in the absence of sufficient charges”.
For the court, Mr. Azibert, in exchange for a “payment” for an honorary position in Monaco, tried to influence Mr. Sarkozy’s appeal. It estimated that “the works which were undertaken certainly did not achieve the expected success”, but “this case is nonetheless of a certain degree of seriousness”.
Under strong judicial pressure, Nicolas Sarkozy will be retried on appeal in the fall in the case of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign. He was sentenced to one year in prison in September 2021.
He is also threatened with a third high-profile trial: the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday requested that he be referred to correctional facilities in the case of suspected Libyan financing of his 2007 election campaign. The decision is up to investigative judges.
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