French justice to deliver verdict in Sarkozy campaign finance trial
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his campaign team will hear the verdict of a Paris court on Thursday on their guilt of illegal campaign financing during his failed 2012 re-election candidacy. If he is found guilty, it would be the second guilty verdict this year for Sarkozy, who ruled France from 2007 to 2012 and retains his influence among conservatives despite his disgrace because of his legal problems.
Prosecutors are asking for a one-year prison sentence, half of which is suspended, for the 66-year-old former president. Even if he is found guilty, he is unlikely to go to jail immediately as he would have to appeal the sentence. His conservative party, prosecutors said, spent nearly double the 22.5 million euros allowed by election law on extravagant election rallies, then hired a friendly PR agency to hide the cost.
Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing. He told the court in June that he was not involved in the logistics of his campaign for a second presidential term or how the money was spent during the election campaign. ‘TOO TO DO’
“Can you imagine me going to a meeting to discuss the cost of the flags?” »He declared in court. “I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes. I had too much to do.” “From the moment I was told things were in order, I had no reason to think more about it.”
Prosecutors admitted that their investigation did not prove that Sarkozy organized or was involved in illegal financing, but argued that he ignored warnings of an overrun he benefited from. Sarkozy was convicted in a separate trial in March of attempting to bribe a judge and influence peddling in order to obtain confidential information about a judicial inquiry. He also denied any wrongdoing in this case.
The former president was sentenced to three years in prison during this trial – including two suspended sentences – but has not yet spent any time in prison, while his appeal is pending. (Written by Ingrid Melander Editing by Gareth Jones)
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)