The French ex-head of state Nicolas Sarkozy has flatly rejected the allegations of the judiciary. The French news agency AFP reported on Monday from the Paris courtroom. The 65-year-old and his long-time lawyer Thierry Herzog have to answer for suspected bribery and unauthorized influence. “I do not admit to any of the atrocities with which I have been followed for six years,” said Sarkozy, according to the agency.
The conservative was the first to comment on the matter in the process. Sarkozy is alleged to have tried in 2014 through his legal counsel to learn investigative secrets from Gilbert Azibert, then an advocate general at the Court of Cassation. Sarkozy ruled the Élysée Palace from 2007 to 2012.
The spectacular process had already started last week. However, the state of health of the lawyer Azibert, who was also accused, had to be clarified, who initially did not appear. According to a medical report, the 73-year-old is able to negotiate. Azibert now came to the court, as media reported. The accused face prison sentences of up to ten years and a fine of one million euros.
At the beginning it was mainly about procedural issues. According to the agency, Sarkozy’s lawyer Jacqueline Laffont spoke of the “nullity of the entire procedure” – for example, defense rights had been violated several times.
In the “Fifth Republic” of France, which was founded in 1958, the court proceedings are considered to be one-time – as there has not been any corruption allegation against an ex-president. Sarkozy turned his back on politics, but is still considered influential among the bourgeois right. In parts of the conservative party “Les Républicains” there is still hope that Sarkozy will make a comeback.