‘I will fight till the end,’ says convicted Nicolas Sarkozy
Sarkozy was sentenced to jail for corruption this week.
PARIS – Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy took to national television on Wednesday evening to plead his innocence and claim he was subjected to judicial harassment, two days after being convicted of corruption.
Speaking on the popular TF1 evening news, Sarkozy provided a characteristically energetic performance, saying, “I am reproached for acts that I did not commit.”
Sarkozy and his lawyer are accused of offering a prestigious job in Monaco to a judge in exchange for valuable information on an another investigation involving Sarkozy, overseen by the judge’s colleagues. Lawyer Thierry Herzog and judge Gilbert Azibert were also sentenced to prison, with the court establishing that there was intent for a “corruption pact.”
On Monday, Sarkozy was sentenced to three years in jail, two of which suspended. He has appealed the decision and says he will appeal until the European Court of Human Rights if he needs to.
“Unfortunately, I have become used to suffering this harassment for the last ten years. Ten years during which considerable means have been put to use” he said, “in order to absolutely find something to reproach from me. Incidentally, those who engaged in these pursuits should one day say how much this all cost.”
The ex-president contests the legality of the process because initial suspicions came from wiretapped conversations between him and Herzog, while Sarkozy was using a phone line taken out under a false name. He claims that this was an attack on the professional secrecy of a lawyer and client, but his efforts to have the proceedings annulled on this basis were unsuccessful.
Sarkozy, whose jail sentence has crushed his supporters’ hopes of a return for 2022, stated again that he had “turned the page” on politics.
Later this month, Sarkozy returns to court for a separate trial, in which he is accused of illegal campaign financing.