Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty by a Paris court of corruption after he offered to pull strings to help a magistrate land a prestigious job in return for a favor.
The 66-year-old was also sentenced to a 1-year prison term, though under the French system he’s unlikely to serve it, even if he fails to overturn the verdict on appeal.
“Sarkozy used his status as former French president,” said Presiding Judge Christine Mée on Monday as she read out the court’s decision. She said the wrongdoing he committed was “particularly serious.”
The conviction of Sarkozy -- who still enjoys some popularity in the nation -- is a shameful chapter in a political career that stuttered after his failed 2012 re-election bid. The judgment puts the former president on the back-foot just two weeks before he’s due back in court on separate charges that he illegally exceeded campaign-spending limits ahead of his electoral defeat.
He isn’t the first former French president to go on trial in modern times. But the late Jacques Chirac was too sick to attend court before he was found guilty in 2011 of misusing Paris city funds.
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.
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.