By: V4 Agency
Several public figures have spoken out for former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, pointing out that wiretapping his phone conversations was illegal. Mr Sarkozy has appealed the verdict and is not going to prison yet.
As V4NA reported earlier, a Paris court sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to three-years in prison, of which 2 years are suspended and 1 is to be served. The verdict is not yet binding as Jacqueline Laffont, the politician’s lawyer, announced that they will appeal the decision. Mr Sarkozy will prove his innocence before the appeal court, a confident Ms Laffont told journalists.
The tough verdict, unprecedented in the case of former presidents, has received widespread media coverage and many public figures, renowned French essayist Eric Zemmour among them, have reacted to the news.
Mr Zemmour was of the opinion that the basic rule of law principles were ignored during the trial, and Mr Sarkozy was only convicted to protect investigating judge Serge Tournaire and the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF). Eric Zemmour compared Nicolas Sarkozy’s case to that of former PMFrancois Fillon, who was convicted of embezzlement last summer and given a five-year sentence, with two years in prison and three suspended. Both politicians were found guilty to protect and clear the name of the prosecutor’s office, the essayist argued.
The so-called wiretapping case tried recently dates back to 2007, when Mr Sarkozy allegedly accepted various illegal payments to fund his presidential campaign and consulted his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, using a phone purchased under the name of Paul Bismuth, Mr Herzog’s friend. According to the charges, Mr Sarkozy and Mr Herzog attempted to bribe judge Gilbert Azibert to disclose information about an investigation into illicit party financing and corruption during the former president’s election campaign. All three suspects were convicted by the court. Sarkozy, Herzog and Azibert were sentenced to three years in prison, with two years suspended.
According to Eric Zemmour, the verdict against Nicolas Sarkozy is tantamount to a political assassination. The publicist stressed that he did not know whether Mr Sarkozy was guilty or innocent, adding however that a guilty verdict would certainly ut an end to his political career benefitting many, especially his political opponents, such as incumbent President Emmanuel Macron.
Jurist Florian Bachelier, a ruling party MP, also weighed in on the case, stressing that it was completely illegal to wiretap phone conversations. The politician told RTL‘s show that no one is above the law, but Mr Sarkozy is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Although the former president appealed and the verdict is not binding, Bachelier has other reservations too, for a number of reasons. Noting that it’s illegal to wiretap phone calls, he underlined that private conversations between a lawyer and his client (the former president) cannot be used in a lawsuit against the client. Nevertheless, the court ruling is entirely based on these calls, he added.