A French court on Monday found former President Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of corruption and influence peddling, sentencing him to three years in prison, including two suspended.
Sarkozy, who was accused of trying to bribe a judge, is the second French President in the country’s modern political history, after Jacques Chirac, to be convicted of corruption.
The French court found that Sarkozy, 66, who led France from 2007 to 2012, was guilty of trying to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014, about a legal case he was involved.
Prosecutors told the judges that the former French President had offered to help judge Gilbert Azibert secure a job in Monaco in exchange for confidential information related to another case, in which, Sarkozy was accused of having accepted illegal payments from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.
Christine Mée, the presiding judge in Monday’s case, told the court that Sarkozy had “used his status as a former president to reward a magistrate who served his personal interest”, while he was “perfectly informed” of the illegality of his actions, French media reported.
Reacting to the court’s ruling, Carla Bruni, a singer and Sarkozy’s wife wrote in an Instagram post: “What senseless persecution, my love @nicolassarkozy…. the fight continues, the truth will come out #injustice “.
Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing and he now has 10 days to appeal Monday’s ruling.