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PARIS (AP) – A Paris court on Monday found former French President Nicolas Sarkozy guilty of corruption and influence peddling and sentenced him to one year in prison and two years suspended.

The 66-year-old politician, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted of attempting to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about a lawsuit he was involved in.

The court said Sarkozy would have the right to request to be detained at his home with an electronic bracelet.

Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people accused of illegally funding his 2012 presidential campaign.

THIS IS A BRIEF UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.

PARIS (AP) – The verdict is expected Monday in a landmark corruption and influence peddling trial that exposes former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to jail if convicted.

Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, has firmly denied all allegations made against him in the 10-day trial that took place late last year.

The 66-year-old politician is suspected of attempting to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about a lawsuit in which he was involved.

It is the first time in modern French history that a former president has been tried for corruption. Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was convicted in 2011 of embezzling public funds and given a two-year suspended prison sentence for acting while he was mayor of Paris.

Sarkozy’s co-defendants – his lawyer and longtime friend Thierry Herzog, 65, and now retired magistrate Gilbert Azibert, 74 – also deny the wrongdoing.

Prosecutors asked for two years in prison and a two-year suspended sentence for the three defendants for what they called a “corruption pact”.

“No pact ever existed,” Sarkozy told the court. “Neither in my head, nor in reality.”

“I want to be rid of this infamy,” he added.

The test focused on telephone conversations that took place in February 2014.

At the time, the investigating judges had opened an investigation into the financing of the 2007 presidential campaign. During the investigation, they discovered by chance that Sarkozy and Herzog were communicating via secret cell phones registered under the pseudonym “Paul Bismuth”.

Wiretapping conversations on these phones led prosecutors to suspect Sarkozy and Herzog of promising Azibert a job in Monaco in exchange for leaking information about another court case, known as the most popular woman. rich from France, the heiress of L’Oréal Liliane Bettencourt.

During one of those phone calls with Herzog, Sarkozy said of Azibert: “I’m going to bring him up … I’m going to help him.”

In another, Herzog reminded Sarkozy to “say a word” for Azibert on a trip to Monaco.

The legal proceedings against Sarkozy were dropped in the Bettencourt case. Azibert never landed the job in Monaco.

Prosecutors, however, concluded that the “clearly stated promise” was in itself a corruption offense under French law, even if the promise was not kept.

Sarkozy vigorously denies any malicious intent.

He told the court that his political life was “to give (people) a little help.” That’s all it is, a little help.

“I was 100 billion kilometers away from thinking that we were doing something that we were not allowed to do,” he said.

Sarkozy said he did not get confidential information from Azibert.

Prosecutors believe Sarkozy was told at some point that secret phones were being tapped and that is why he ultimately did not help Azibert get the job.

The confidentiality of communications between a lawyer and his client was a major point of contention in the trial.

“You have before you a man whose more than 3,700 private conversations have been tapped … What have I done to deserve this?” Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy’s defense attorney, Jacqueline Laffont, argued that the whole case was based on “chatter” between a lawyer and his client.

“You do not have the beginning of a piece of evidence, not the account of the lightness witness, the declaration of lightness,” she told the court.

Sarkozy withdrew from active politics after failing to be chosen as his conservative party’s presidential candidate for the 2017 French elections, won by Emmanuel Macron.

He remains very popular among right-wing voters, however, and plays a major role behind the scenes, including maintaining a relationship with Macron, whom he would advise on certain topics. His memoir released this summer, “The Time of Storms,” was a bestseller for weeks.

Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people accused of illegally funding his 2012 presidential campaign.

His conservative party is suspected of having spent 42.8 million euros ($ 50.7 million), almost double the maximum allowed, to finance the campaign, which ended in the victory of socialist rival François Hollande .

In another investigation opened in 2013, Sarkozy is accused of taking millions of dollars from then-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to illegally finance his 2007 campaign.

He has been charged with accepting bribes, illegal campaign financing, concealing assets stolen from Libya and criminal association. He denied the wrongdoing.


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