Former French President Sarkozy sentenced to prison

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday was sentenced to three years in prison with two years suspended after a court found him guilty on corruption and influence-peddling charges.

In a Monday afternoon ruling, the court agreed with prosecutors that the former president formed a “corruption pact” with his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and a senior magistrate to secure a job for the magistrate in exchange for providing information on an investigation into Sarkozy, The Guardian reported.

Herzog and the magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, received similar sentences, according to the newspaper. Sarkozy is likely to appeal the conviction.

The former president is unlikely to spend any time behind bars. In addition to the suspended two years, the sentence can be served under limited house arrest or with an electronic monitor.

However, the conviction and sentencing will likely doom his chances of mounting a return to politics with Les Républicains, his center-right political party. Sarkozy had retired from politics after his defeat for reelection in 2012 but returned to leadership of the party in 2014 before leaving again in 2016.

The rare conviction and sentencing of a Western former head of state comes as former President Trump faces some legal threats after leaving office.

Trump was largely shielded from legal liability and the threat of indictment as a sitting president, but investigations into his taxes and finances at the state and local level have continued after his presidency. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance (D) in his efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns.

Trump on Sunday returned to the national stage with an appearance at an annual conservative political conference. The former president won a straw poll among those gathered for the conference on the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee.

Sarkozy is the first former French president to appear in court on criminal charges. While his predecessor, the late Jacques Chirac, was convicted of diversion of public funds in 2011, Chirac’s poor health kept him from appearing in court. Sarkozy is set to appear again later this year in connection with separate allegations of overspending during his unsuccessful 2012 reelection campaign.

Sarkozy was once a huge international political star, visiting former President Obama in 2010, when the two made a trip to Washington, D.C.’s Ben’s Chili Bowl along with Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni and Sarkozy’s two sons from a previous marriage.

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