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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy sentenced on appeal to one year in prison

Photo: Bertrand Guay Agence France-Presse Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, upon leaving the Court of Appeal, where he was sentenced to one year's imprisonment, including six months suspended, in the “Bygmalion” affair.

Eleonore Dermy – Agence France-Presse and Arthur Connan – Agence France-Presse in Paris

1:14 p.m.

  • Europe

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced Wednesday on appeal to a year's imprisonment with six months suspended following a trial over excessive spending during his lost 2012 presidential campaign, a decision he immediately contested by appealing to the highest French court.

“Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy is fully innocent, he has taken note of this decision, he has decided to appeal to the Court of Cassation,” announced his lawyer, Me Vincent Desry, to the press. “So he maintains his fight, his position in this matter,” he stressed.

This appeal to the Court of Cassation suspends the sentence imposed on Wednesday by the Court of Appeal on the former head of state (2007-2012), which turns out to be lower than that of one year firm which was pronounced at first instance, in September 2021.

The firm part of the sentence imposed on Wednesday on the former head of state (2007-2012), six months, will be adjusted, the president of the court said on Wednesday while reading her decision.

In September 2021, the Paris criminal court found Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of having significantly exceeded the legal spending limit and sentenced him to one year in prison for illegal campaign financing.

He had, however, requested that this sentence be directly adjusted, at home under electronic surveillance.

The court of appeal also sentenced the nine other people who had also appealed the first instance judgment to sentences of one year in prison, suspended to two years in prison, of which eighteen suspended month, specifying that the six months to be served could also be adjusted.

It also imposed five-year ineligibility sentences for six of them and bans on managing a company for five years for two others.

In this case, investigations revealed that to hide the explosion of his campaign's expenses — nearly 43 million euros for an authorized maximum of 22.5 million — a system of double invoicing had was set up attributing to Nicolas Sarkozy's political party, under the cover of fictitious conventions, a large part of the cost of the meetings.

Unlike his co-defendants, the former head of state was not accused of this system of false invoices.

But, in its judgment, the criminal court had underlined that the former president had “continued the organization of” electoral meetings, “requesting one meeting per day”, even though he “had been warned in writing” of the risk of legal overrun, then effective overrun.

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“Fables” and “lies”

During the appeal trial, the attorneys general requested a year's imprisonment for him, but this time with a suspended sentence.

Nicolas Sarkozy had, as during the first trial, “vigorously contested any criminal responsibility”, denouncing “fables” and “lies”.

His lawyer, Me Vincent Desry, had pleaded for his release, ensuring that the former head of state had “never been aware of an excess” of the legal ceiling for electoral expenses and “never incurred any expenses”. 60~/p>

He considered that it had been “impossible” for the public prosecutor to “demonstrate the intentional element” nor the “material element” of the alleged offense.

Among those who were part of Nicolas Sarkozy's party, only the deputy director of the presidential campaign team, Jérôme Lavrilleux, admitted to having covered up the double billing system.

In May 2014, he helped reveal the scandal during an interview on BFMTV television. On the stand, however, he denied having been the one who set up the “breakdown system” of electoral expenses.

Mr. Lavrilleux was sentenced to two years of imprisonment, eighteen months of which were suspended, and five years of ineligibility.

This case adds to other legal troubles for Nicolas Sarkozy: he was sentenced last May on appeal in a telephone tapping case to three years of imprisonment, one of which is closed, a decision against which he appealed in cassation.

He will also appear in 2025 on suspicion of Libyan financing of his 2007 presidential campaign.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116