Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy Sentenced to Jail for Corruption

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy arrives at the Paris court house to hear the final verdict in a corruption trial on March 1, 2021. -Getty Images

On Monday, a French court sentenced former President Nicolas Sarkozy to three years in prison for corruption and influence peddling, but suspended two years of the sentence.

Sarkozy, 66, was convicted of trying to bribe a judge in 2014 after he’d left office as president by suggesting he could secure a prestigious job for him in return for information about a separate case.

His lawyer says he is appealing. Sarkozy will remain free during that process which could take years.

Sakorzy who was President from 2007 to 2012, is the first president to have been sentenced to jail in France’s modern history.

The judge, Christine Mée said he did not need to serve time in jail. But rather he could serve the sentence by wearing an electronic bracelet at home.

The Judge in her ruling said, the conservative politician “knew what [he] was doing was wrong”, adding that his actions and those of his lawyer had given the public “a very bad image of justice”.

His co-defendants, his lawyer Thierry Herzog and former magistrate Gilbert Azibert were found guilty and handed prison sentences.

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

Investigators looked into claims that Sarkozy had accepted illicit payments from the L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.

The investigations reveal that Sarkozy and Herzog whose conversations were tapped in 2014 promised senior magistrate 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.

The media reported that Sarkozy was heard telling Herzog: “I’ll get him promoted, I’ll help him.”