Speed Reads

Crime and Punishment

Ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy convicted of campaign finance violations, given year of house arrest

A court in Paris on Thursday convicted former French President Nicolas Sarkozy of campaign finance crimes related to his unsuccessful 2012 re-election campaign and sentenced him to a year of house arrest, enforced through an electronic monitoring bracelet. Prosecutors had sought six months behind bars and six months of house arrest. Sarkozy, 66, can appeal the verdict, which would suspend the sentence. He is already wearing an ankle monitor from a March 1 corruption conviction.

In this case, Sarkozy was convicted of knowingly allowing his campaign to spend twice the allowed $27.5 million on his re-election bid. "The case failed to garner much interest among the public, with the charges seen as less sensational than the corruption charges that had already dented any prospect of Sarkozy making another comeback," AFP reports. "Despite his political setbacks and legal woes Sarkozy still enjoys considerable sway in French politics, with conservative candidates in next year's presidential election vying for his endorsement." He retired from active politics in 2017, after an unsuccessful 2016 comeback attempt. 

In addition to Sarkozy, 13 other people were tried in the campaign finance case, the charges ranging from forgery, fraud, and breach of trust. Prosecutors have requested mostly suspended sentences in those cases, though they are seeking up to a year in prison for the co-founder of Bygmalion, the communications group in charge of organizing Sarkozy's 2012 rallies.