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France's Sarkozy convicted of corruption, sentenced to jail

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Michel Euler/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. -

France

France's former President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty of corruption on Monday and sentenced to three years in prison.

It is the first time in France's modern history that a former president has gone on trial for corruption.

He is the first former French leader to be handed out a prison sentence that includes time with no remission. His predecessor at the Elysée Palace, Jacques Chirac, had been handed a two-year suspended jail term after being found guilty of corruption while Paris Mayor.

The 66-year-old politician, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted for having tried to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about a legal action in which he was involved.

Sarkozy was accused of offering to boost a high magistrate's chance of obtaining a promotion in Monaco back in 2014 in return for leaked information about a judicial inquiry against him.

He denies all the allegations against him during the 10-day trial that took place last year.

Two years of his sentence were suspended, and the court said Sarkozy will be entitled to request to be detained at home with an electronic bracelet.

Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign.

Sarkozy said he was the victim of a witch-hunt by financial prosecutors who had used excessive means to snoop on his affairs.

Sarkozy has 10 days to appeal the ruling.

Sarkozy's lawyer, Thierry Herzog, and the senior judge, Gilbert Azibert, also denied wrongdoing. Both have been handed the same sentence as Sarkozy. Herzog, who was also slapped with a five-year professional ban, has appealed the ruling.

Prosecutors had requested two years of prison and a two-year suspended sentence for all three defendants over what they said was a "corruption pact.''

"No pact has ever existed," Sarkozy told the court. "Neither in my head nor in reality.'' "I want to be cleared of that infamy,'' he added.

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