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Sarkozy found guilty of illegal campaign financing

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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty Thursday of illegal financing activities tied to his unsuccessful 2012 reelection campaign, just months after he was handed a prison sentence in a separate case involving corruption and influence-peddling charges. 

A French judge issued a yearlong prison sentence for the campaign finance charges Thursday, but said Sarkozy could serve out the sentence at home while wearing a GPS tracking bracelet, according to The Washington Post

Sarkozy, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, was accused along with 13 co-defendants of falsifying accounts to bypass French laws limiting the amount a candidate can spend on their campaign. 

The judge in the case said Thursday, “Nicolas Sarkozy knew the spending limit,” and “knew he shouldn’t exceed it,” but did it anyway, according to CNN

The sentence makes Sarkozy the first French head of state in recent history to receive two prison sentences. 

In March, the former president was sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty on charges connected to a “corruption pact” with his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and a senior magistrate to secure a job for the magistrate in exchange for information on an investigation into Sarkozy. 

However, the court at the time suspended two years of the sentence, adding that the single year could also be served under house arrest or with an electronic monitor. 

Herzog and the magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, received similar sentences in connection with the scheme. 

Sarkozy’s legal team has sought to push back on the charges and sentences, with Herzog telling reporters outside the courtroom Thursday that he planned to launch an appeal to the latest ruling, according to CNN. 

The former president previously appealed his March conviction. 

Sarkozy still faces other separate accusations of wrongdoing, including that he allegedly received payments from the regime of then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi ahead of Sarkozy’s 2007 election win. 

CNN reported that Gadhafi allegedly sent several suitcases filled with millions of euros to Sarkozy’s campaign team in Paris. 

The former French leader had retired from politics after his election loss in 2012, but returned to the leadership of his center-right party, Les Républicains, in 2014 before leaving once again in 2016.

Tags Campaign finance Campaign finance limits CNN Conviction France Influence peddling Nicolas Sarkozy Nicolas Sarkozy corruption trial The Washington Post

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