France’s ex-president in court
Sarkozy fights prison sentence in appeal process
France’s ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy has had to appear in court again since Monday on charges of bribery and trading in influence.
Nicolas Sarkozy (M), former President of France, arrives in the courtroom to answer. Sarkozy was sentenced to three years in prison in March 2021 for bribery and trading in influence. Photo: Francois Mori/AP/dpa
The 67-year-old has appealed a guilty verdict from March last year.
The sentence at the time was three years in prison, two of which were suspended. At the beginning of the appeals court, Sarkozy protested his innocence. ‘Where’s the evidence? There is no evidence. I’m defending my pride here.” The conservative politician was head of state between 2007 and 2012.
Specifically, it is about the fact that Sarkozy is said to have tried in 2014 through his long-time lawyer Thierry Herzog to obtain investigative secrets from the lawyer Gilbert Azibert in another affair in which he was involved. In doing so, the prosecution argued that he endangered the independence of the judiciary. Herzog and Azibert were also convicted in the first instance and are now also on trial again. The trial is scheduled to last until December 16th.
The allegations are based on tapped telephone conversations between the politician and his lawyer. There was a dispute about the legality of this wiretapping operation. Investigators found that Sarkozy and Herzog used mobile phones, which the ex-president had bought under a pseudonym, for confidential conversations. On Monday, Sarkozy was outraged that the communication between lawyer and client was confidential and the wiretapping was illegal. A total of 3,500 of his phone calls were tapped.