Trial Expected to Last Three Weeks – Accused of Passive Bribery
This is the first time that a former head of state of France will sit on the bench for such a serious accusation, as the French press points out.
The former leader of the Fifth French Republic and the wife of the famous singer, Carla Bruni, will cross the threshold of the 32nd Paris Criminal Court together with two of his co-accused to be held accountable for the crime of passive bribery.
The offense carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of one million euros, according to the French newspaper “Le Monde”.
Even before the start of the hearing, the rumor circulates that the trial will be suspended, because one of the co-accused, the 73-year-old lawyer Gilbert Aziber, is facing health problems. The rumor was also confirmed by the court, as reported by the French newspaper “Le Figaro”.
Sarkozy has tried desperately for the past six years to file the case, denouncing a “scandal that will go down in history.”
The prosecution, however, alleges that he placed a favorable transfer in Monaco to Gilbert Azimber, a senior judge at the time, in exchange for confidential information about the investigation against him for illegally financing his 2007 election campaign by the heir of the company L ‘Oreal’ Lillian Betancourt.
The trial is expected to last three weeks.
Sarkozy will be the first former head of state in France to face justice with such a serious charge.
It is worth recalling that Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was also sentenced nine years ago to two years in prison with a suspension for embezzlement and abuse of confidence during his time as mayor of Paris. For health reasons, however, he did not appear in the court.