RFI

France: suspension of the corruption trial of former President Sarkozy

The trial of Nicolas Sarkozy, judged from this Monday for corruption, which is unprecedented for a former French president, was suspended shortly after its opening and until Thursday, the time for a medical examination for one of the co-accused, a magistrate. The criminal court ordered “an expertise” of the state of health of the former judge Gilbert Azibert, 73, absent from the hearing for medical reasons. In a black suit and white shirt, Nicolas Sarkozy arrived around 1:20 pm surrounded by a cloud of cameras. In the courtroom, he greeted the lawyers and financial prosecutors. While the president of the criminal court, Christine Mée, stated his full identity, Nicolas Sarkozy of Nagy Bocsa, he replied: “Sarkozy, that’s enough “. The magistrate specified that the procedure provided for it for the criminal record. He replied, shrugging his shoulders, “for the moment I have not needed to use it”, before sitting down next to his lawyer friend and co-defendant Thierry Herzog. eavesdropping ”finds its origin in another file which threatens Nicolas Sarkozy: the suspicions of Libyan financing of his presidential campaign of 2007. In this context, the judges had decided in September 2013 to place the former president on wiretap, and discovered, beginning 2014, that he used a secret line, under the pseudonym “Paul Bismuth”, to communicate with his lawyer Thierry Herzog. According to the prosecution, certain conversations revealed the existence of a corruption pact: Nicolas Sarkozy a, by the intermediary of Me Herzog, considered to bring a “helping hand” to Mr. Azibert to help him obtain a post in the Principality of Monaco which he coveted, but which he never obtained. In return, according to the prosecution, this senior magistrate provided information, covered by secrecy, on a procedure initiated in Cassation by Mr. Sarkozy on the sidelines of another file (Bettencourt case), and tried to influence his colleagues. “I am not a rotten” After having benefited from a dismissal in the Bettencourt case at the end of 2013, Nicolas Sarkozy had indeed seized the Court of Cassation to cancel the entry of his presidential agendas, likely to interest justice in other proceedings.In discussions with his lawyer, the basis of the prosecution, the former president undertook to intervene in favor of Judge Azibert. “Me, I make him go up”, “I will help him”, he said thus to Me Herzog. Shortly after, he declares to have given up making “the step” with the Monegasque authorities. For investigators, this turnaround could come from the discovery by the two men that their unofficial telephones were tapped. “All that, these are little bits of sentences taken from a context”, swept this Monday morning on hooly-news.com Paul -Albert Iweins, lawyer of Mr. Herzog, evoking only “conversations between friends of very long time”. In an indictment in October 2017, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office for its part compared the methods of Mr. Sarkozy to those of “a seasoned delinquent”. The three defendants contest any “corruption pact”. “Mr. Azibert did not get anything, I did not take any action and I was dismissed by the Court of Cassation” concerning the agendas, argued the former president in 2014. “I will explain myself to the court because I have always faced my obligations, ”he recently reaffirmed on the French channel hooly-news.com. “I am not a rotten”, he added. Nicolas Sarkozy has never ceased to denounce a political instrumentalisation of justice, unsuccessfully multiplying the appeals. The validation of the wiretaps in March 2016 by the highest judicial court had been a major defeat for the former president, who considered that the transcription of exchanges between a lawyer and his client was illegal. This issue will again be hotly discussed during the trial. (With Afp)