Nicolas Sarkozy is the first French ex-president in modern history to be sentenced to prison for corruption.
The judges found him guilty of attempted bribery of a judge and abuse of power during his presidency. He has been imprisoned for three years, two years on probation.
The evidence presented comes from wiretapping by prosecutors who, according to Sarkozy, were out to take him out politically. He denies doing anything wrong and has called it a “scandalous” trial conducted by “vengeful left-wing magistrates and prosecutors”.
At the time, Sarkozy made telephone calls under the pseudonym Paul Bismuth. Thousands of conversations have been overheard, and in one, he mentioned an open position in Monaco while asking a judge for information on another case against him.
According to prosecutors and judges, this was an indisputable attempt to bribe his interlocutor. Sarkozy thus abused his power.
Sarkozy, 65, was president from 2007 to 2012 and is still popular at the centre of French politics. He could have made a comeback as an alternative to the increasingly unpopular left-liberal president Emmanuel Macron and the right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen.