Nicolas Sarkozy loses corruption conviction appeal

Former French president's lawyer vows to challenge Paris ruling

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at the courtroom for his appeal. AP
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Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has failed in an attempt to overturn a criminal conviction.

The French Court of Appeal upheld a prison sentence of three years, two of them suspended, against Sarkozy for corruption and influence peddling.

A combination of the suspended term and a year wearing an electronic bracelet means Sarkozy will stay out of prison.

Sarkozy’s lawyer said he would appeal against the ruling made on Wednesday.

The 68-year-old, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was also banned from public office for three years for trying to obtain information about a legal investigation from a judge via a secret telephone line that was discovered through wiretapping.

A nervous-looking Sarkozy arrived in court wearing a dark grey suit. He fistbumped his lawyers and smiled occasionally as he took his seat before proceedings started.

A lower court in 2021 had found Sarkozy guilty, a stunning fall from grace for the former president.

In line with the initial ruling, the appeals court said two years of the prison term would be suspended and that Sarkozy would have to wear an electronic bracelet instead of going to jail for the remaining year.

Jacqueline Laffont, a lawyer for Sarkozy, said he was not guilty of the corruption and influence charges he has been convicted of and will challenge his failed appeal.

She said her client had committed no wrong and described the ruling as stupefying.

“Nicolas Sarkozy is innocent of the charges [he has been convicted of]. We will take this all the way. This is just the beginning.”

The Court of Appeal reviews lower court rulings on the grounds of legal or procedural errors, but not factual aspects.

Updated: May 17, 2023, 9:19 AM

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