Former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has sentenced to three years in prison for corruption and influence peddling. Despite his conviction, the judge has suspended two years of Sarkozy’s sentence, which he will serve at home with an electronic bracelet.
Sarkozy is the first president to physically stand trial in modern French history.
Dubbed the “wiretapping case,” the investigation began in 2013 when investigators bugged phones belonging to Sarkozy and his laywer Herzog in inquiry against Sarkozy.
Investigators soon uncovered that Sarkozy offered senior magistrate, Gilbert Azibert a prestigious position in Monaco for information about the ongoing claims that Sarkozy had illegally obtained funding from the L’Oréal cosmetics fortune for his 2007 presidential campaign.
In two weeks, Sarkozy will yet again stand trial against further accusations, including the violation of campaign financing rules for his 2012 re-election bid by failing to disclose the true cost of his campaign.
Investigators are continuing to look into alleged illegal campaign funding from Libya obtained by Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s former leader, who allegedly provided Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign with millions of euros shipped to Paris in suitcases.
While France prepares for a heated presidential campaign in 2022, Sarkozy remains widely popular among conservatives. Christian Jacob, head of the popular political party Les Républicains, tweeted, “Steadfast support for @NicolasSarkozy. The severity of the sentence adopted is absolutely disproportionate and indicative of the judicial harassment of an already highly contested institution. All light will have to be shed on the methods and independence of the #PNF.”
While the first to attend his trial, Sarkozy is not the first president to face charges. In 2011, Jacques Chirac, was convicted of embezzling and misusing public funds when he was mayor of Paris. Chirac was unable to attend due to poor mental health.