A French court convicted former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to three years in prison for “corruption and influence peddling,” however, the sentence had two years suspended from it. Sarkozy was president from 2007 to 2012.
Sarkozy was found guilty of “trying to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about an ongoing investigation into his campaign finances,” according to the ruling. The judge claimed that Sarkozy does not need to serve time in jail itself and could instead serve his sentence by wearing an electric bracelet at home.
This is a historic ruling for the nation, marking the first time a president has been sentenced to jail in France within its modern history. Sarkozy is 66-years-old, and the prosecutor working on the case requested a two-year prison sentence as well as a two-year suspended sentence.
Sarkozy and his co-defendants, his lawyers Thierry Herzog and former magistrate Gilbert Azibert, were all found guilty and handed prison sentences to a certain degree. An investigation was initially launched last year before enough evidence was able to be compiled to make charges and bring the case to the courtroom; which occurred at the end of last year.
This incident has been dubbed by French media as the “wiretapping case,” and it apparently began back in 2013 when investigators first bugged phones belonging to Sarkozy and his lawyer Herzog. Investigators discovered that the two men had “promised senior magistrate Gilbert Azibert a prestigious position in Monaco, in exchange for information about an ongoing inquiry into claims that Sarkozy had accepted illegal payments from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his successful 2007 presidential campaign.”
These aren’t the only accusations Sarkozy is facing either. In two weeks he will find himself on trial once again after being accused of violating campaign financing rules during his 2012 re-election bid. He worked with a public relations firm during his failed campaign to hide the true cost of it from the media.
In a separate case, French prosecutors are looking into an “alleged illegal campaign funding from Libya. Libya’s former deceased leader Muammar Gaddafi allegedly provided Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign with millions of euros shipped to Paris in suitcases,” according to prosecutors.
Back in 2011 former president Jacques Chirac was found guilty of misusing public funds for his campaign, and was given a two-year suspended prison sentence for the “employment of fictitious officials when he was mayor of Paris in the early 1990’s.” It’s unclear if the additional accusations will add any additional time to Sarkozy’s sentence, but citizens aren’t convinced it will.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.