Former French president Sarkozy faces verdict in corruption trial
A French court is to hand down its verdict in the corruption trial of former president Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday, with prosecutors demanding prison time for the 66-year-old.
The former president told the court he had “never committed the slightest act of corruption”.
Prosecutors called for him to be jailed for four years and serve a minimum of two, and asked for the same punishment for his co-defendants — lawyer Thierry Herzog and judge Gilbert Azibert.
“The events would not have occurred if a former president, as well as a lawyer, had kept in mind the magnitude, the responsibility, and the duties of his office,” prosecutor Jean-Luc Blachon told the court as the trial was wound up in December.
The graft and influence-peddling charges — among several legal cases against him — carry a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of one million euros ($1.2 million).
Prosecutors say Sarkozy and Herzog tried to bribe judge Azibert for information on an inquiry into claims the former leader had received illicit payments from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt during his successful 2007 presidential campaign.
The state’s case is based on wiretaps of conversations between Herzog and Sarkozy, with prosecutors accusing him of “using secret telephone lines” to cover up his attempt to infiltrate the court.
Prosecutor Celine Guillet said it had been established “with certainty” that judge Azibert transmitted confidential information about the Bettencourt case on an unofficial line to his friend Herzog.
One conversation “overwhelmingly” showed that Sarkozy had promised to intervene to get Azibert a post in Monaco, she said…..read more