Court Cuts Sarkozy Sentence to 6 Months

But it upholds former president's conviction for illegal campaign financing
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2021 6:51 AM CDT
Updated Feb 14, 2024 2:00 PM CST
France's Sarkozy Hears His Fate in Campaign Finance Trial
In this Nov. 11, 2019 photo, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.   (Ludovic Marin/Pool via AP, file)
UPDATE Feb 14, 2024 2:00 PM CST

Nicolas Sarkozy didn't have a great Valentine's Day. An appeals court in Paris upheld the former president's 2021 conviction for illegal campaign financing, though it halved his sentence from one year to six months, with another six months suspended, the New York Times reports. If he does end up serving time, it will be at home with an electronic monitoring device. Attorney Vincent Desry said Sarkozy is "fully innocent" and will appeal to France's top court, the Court of Cassation. Sarkozy is also appealing a separate sentence handed down in a corruption case. The appeals process is expected to drag on for years and Sarkozy, who will go on trial in yet another case next year, will remain free while appeals are ongoing, reports the AP.

Sep 30, 2021 6:51 AM CDT

For the first time in modern French history, a former president earlier this year was tried and convicted of corruption and sentenced to jail time. Now, that same president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has a new conviction under his belt, complete with an additional one-year prison sentence after being found guilty Thursday of illegally financing his unsuccessful 2012 reelection campaign. The Washington Post reports that 66-year-old Sarkozy, who served as France's leader from 2007 to 2012, will be able to serve his prison time at his home while wearing an electronic monitoring device.

A Sarkozy attorney has announced that they'll appeal, per the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal notes Sarkozy wasn't in court to hear the verdict. Prosecutors accused the ex-president, and more than a dozen other defendants, of being part of a scheme that tried to sidestep French election laws limiting how much candidates for office can spend. An investigation found Sarkozy's team had spent about $50 million on his campaign, which is almost two times the allowable $26 million for top presidential contenders. While Sarkozy insisted he'd been caught up in campaigning and wasn't paying attention to the budget and logistics, prosecutors noted he's a lawyer by training, and that he'd ignored warnings from aides about overspending.

story continues below

Sarkozy's March conviction for corruption and influence peddling centered on allegations that he'd struck a deal with a magistrate to illegally get information on an inquiry tied to himself. He received a three-year prison sentence for those crimes, but that sentence has been delayed during his appeal. The Post notes that short prison terms in France are usually waived anyway, meaning he may never see confinement. Sarkozy isn't the only former French president to see a conviction over the last decade: In 2011, Jacques Chirac, who occupied the Elysee Palace for the 12 years before Sarkozy, was handed down a two-year suspended sentence for doling out jobs that didn't exist to allies while he was Paris' mayor. (More Nicolas Sarkozy stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.