French courts historically sentence former president to jail for corruption

For the first time in its post-war history, France convicted a former president to jail for crimes of corruption

Despite the sentence, Sarkozy will likely not serve a day in prison. [Photo: AP]
Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy was sentenced to three years in jail for corruption, making him the first French president to ever receive a custodial sentence.

After years of litigation, Sarkozy was convicted of attempting to bribe a judge in 2014 by suggesting he could secure a prestigious job for him in return for information about a separate case.

Sarkozy and his team have stated that they will appeal the ruling and the former french leader will remain free during the process which will likely take years.

During her ruling, Judge Christine Mée pointedly stated that the politician knew what he was doing was wrong and criminal, adding that he and his team have tainted the public image of the justice system to the French people.

The crimes were specified as influence-peddling and violation of professional secrecy.

The sentence is historical as it is the first of its kind, with the only legal precedent the trial of Sarkozy’s predecessor Jacques Chirac, who got a two-year suspended sentence in 2011 for having arranged bogus jobs at Paris City Hall for allies when he was in Paris mayor.

Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni commented on the conviction of her spouse by posting a picture of the two on Instagram, captioning it “the fight continues, the truth will out” in French.

Sarkozy is unlikely to spend a day in jail, should his appeal prove unsuccessful he will likely serve a year at home with an electronic tag, rather than go to prison.

While the former French president was not banned from holding public office, the guilty verdict is likely to crush any hopes he and his party may have had of running for office for next year’s presidential election.


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