Former French Pres. Sarkozy Loses Appeal Against Graft Conviction
A French appeals court on Wednesday upheld former French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy's one-year sentence on a conviction for corruption and influence peddling. He was first convicted in 2021 of attempting to bribe a magistrate in exchange for information about a legal case in which he was implicated.
- A French appeals court on Wednesday upheld former French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy's one-year sentence on a conviction for corruption and influence peddling. He was first convicted in 2021 of attempting to bribe a magistrate in exchange for information about a legal case in which he was implicated.1
- Though it upheld the three-year prison sentence, the Paris Court of Appeals ruled that two years would be suspended and Sarkozy would wear an electronic bracelet instead of going to jail for the remaining year. He also remains banned from public office for three years.2
- 68-year-old Sarkozy, a conservative who served one term as French president from 2007 to 2012, will now bring his case to France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, which reviews lower court rulings on legal or procedural grounds but not factual matters.3
- Sarkozy became France’s first post-war president to be sentenced to prison when a court found he and his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog, had formed a "corruption pact" with Judge Gilbert Azibert to obtain and share information about an investigation.2
- Prosecutors last week also requested Sarkozy go to trial for allegedly taking millions in illegal financing for his 2007 campaign by the regime of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.1
- This comes as he was sentenced to one year of house arrest for a different illegal campaign funding charge in 2021, though that case, too, is suspended as Sarkozy appealed it before the Paris Court of Appeal, which is set to decide on the case later this year.4
Sources: 1ABC News, 2Al Jazeera, 3Euractiv, and 4POLITICO.
- Narrative A, as provided by Evening Standard. Whether you believe this sentence to be fair or not, one fact to consider is that neither Sarkozy nor the magistrate received any of the benefits from their alleged "corruption pact." France has long been known for politicians playing around with campaign funds, but it wasn't until recently that one of them was actually sentenced to prison for such a crime. This could be the start of a new era of French justice, but it could also lead to politically-motivated prosecutions in the future.
- Narrative B, as provided by MSNBC. Sarkozy's conviction shows that even the most powerful Western heads of state are not above the law. Whether it be the president of France, the US, or Israel, crying "political witch hunt" doesn't do much in a country that is ranked highly among the world's fairest judicial and political systems. It's as simple as this: the facts led to Sarkozy's downfall, and nothing else.