Hamilton Journal News

France’s Sarkozy convicted of corruption, sent to prison

- By Sylvie Corbet

PARIS — A Paris court found French former President Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of corruption and influence peddling on Monday and sentenced him to a year in prison. He can ask to serve that time at home and also plans to appeal.

The 66-year-old, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted of trying to bribe a magistrate in exchange for informatio­n about a legal case in which he was implicated.

He will remain free while he appeals, but it was a blow to the retired politician who still plays an influentia­l role in French conservati­ve politics. It’s not the end of his legal troubles either: He faces another trial later this month and is also under investigat­ion in a third case.

The ruling marks the first time in France’s modern history that a former president has been convicted of corruption — and given a prison term. His predecesso­r, Jacques Chirac, was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money during his time as Paris mayor — not considered a corruption offense — and was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

The court said Sarkozy is entitled to ask to be detained at home with an electronic bracelet — as is the case for any sentence of two years or less. He also received a twoyear suspended sentence — which he will not have to serve if he commits no new offense in the next five years.

Later, Sarkozy’s lawyer, Jacqueline Laffont, said he would appeal.

Sarkozy’s co-defendants — his lawyer and longtime friend Thierry Herzog, 65, and now-retired magistrate Gilbert Azibert, 74 — were also found guilty and given the same sentence as the politician.

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