Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy sentenced to jail in historic ruling

0
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at the Paris court house to hear the final verdict in a corruption trial on March 1, 2021. – A French court is to hand down its verdict of guilty on March 1, 2021 in the corruption trial of Sarkozy accused of offering a plum job in Monaco to a judge in exchange for inside information on an inquiry into his campaign finances. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP) (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Paris (CNN) – A French court on Monday sentenced former President Nicolas Sarkozy to three years in prison for corruption and influence peddling, but suspended two years of the sentence.

President from 2007 to 2012, he was found guilty of trying to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about an ongoing investigation into his campaign finances.

The judge said Sarkozy did not need to serve time in jail. He could serve the sentence by wearing an electronic bracelet at home.

The 66-year-old is the first president to have been sentenced to jail in France’s modern history.

The Paris prosecutor had requested a two-year prison sentence and a two-year suspended sentence for Sarkozy and his co-defendants, his lawyer Thierry Herzog and former magistrate Gilbert Azibert.

Herzog and Azibert were found guilty and handed prison sentences.

After a lengthy investigation and legal entanglements, the trial began at the end of last year. The judge handed down Sarkozy’s sentence Monday afternoon in front of a full courtroom.

Dubbed the “wiretapping case,” it began in 2013 when investigators bugged phones belonging to Sarkozy and his lawyer Herzog, in the context of an inquiry against Sarkozy.

They discovered that the two men promised senior magistrate Gilbert Azibert a prestigious position in Monaco, in exchange for information about an ongoing inquiry into claims that Sarkozy had accepted illegal payments from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his successful 2007 presidential campaign.