Thirteen of the 14 people sentenced by the Paris Criminal Court in the so-called “Bygmalion” trial on the illegal financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s lost presidential campaign in 2012 have decided to appeal, AFP learned Thursday from a judicial source, confirming a information from BFMTV.
The Paris prosecutor’s office, for its part, has formed an “incidental appeal” against 11 of the 14 convicts to allow the court of appeal to re-judge all the facts or the entire dispute. The court of appeal will thus have the possibility of increasing the penalties pronounced at first instance, confirming them or, possibly, reducing them. The date of the appeal trial remains to be determined.
Contacted by AFP, the prosecution clarified that it appealed only against those convicted who had appealed against their criminal conviction. The three convicts who appealed only on civil interests (Bastien Millot, Sébastien Borivent) or did not appeal (Philippe Briand) are not affected by the decision of the prosecution and their criminal conviction therefore becomes final.
Former president of the Association for financing the campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy, Philippe Briand was sentenced to two years in prison, one of which was suspended and three years of suspended ineligibility. Sébastien Borivent and Bastien Millot, two executives of Bygmalion, contested only the damages to which they were ordered. Their criminal convictions, three years in prison including 18 months suspended for Sébastien Borivent and two years suspended for Bastien Millot, therefore become final.
Among those who appealed was former President Nicolas Sarkozy who was sentenced to one year in prison for illegally financing his presidential campaign. As soon as the decision was announced, his lawyer had announced that his client was going to appeal.
In its judgment, the court considered that the former tenant of the Élysée (2007-2012) had “continued the organization of electoral meetings”, “asking for one meeting per day”, even though he “had been warned in writing ”of the risk of legal overrun, then of the actual overrun. “It was not his first campaign, he had experience as a candidate, a knowledge of the law,” insisted the president of the court Caroline Viguier. The former head of state “knew the legal amount of the ceiling” of authorized expenses. “He willfully failed to exercise any control over the expenses incurred.”
His 13 other co-defendants were former executives of the campaign and the UMP (now LR) and the Bygmalion company which organized the meetings as well as accountants.