After losing his appeal against his corruption conviction, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is now required to wear an electronic tag.
The Paris Court of Appeals confirmed a sentence of three years in prison given to Sarkozy after he was convicted of trying to bribe a court when he left office.
He was also found guilty of extortion for information on an investigation into the finances of his 2007 election campaign.
The appeal court decided on Wednesday that two years of the prison term would be suspended in accordance with the original ruling.
Sarkozy will not spend the third year behind bars, but instead wear an electronic tag.
He has never been found guilty of any wrongdoing.
His lawyers called the ruling of the court “stupefying”, and promised to appeal the decision in the High Court.
Jacqueline Laffont, the defence lawyer, said that Sarkozy is “innocent” of all charges and “we won’t give up on this fight.”
Sarkozy who was France’s president from 2007 to 2012 left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.
After his conviction, he suffered a dramatic fall from grace. This is known as “the wiretapping affair” across the country.
This is just one of many legal battles in which the former president finds himself.
The case that was the subject of Wednesday’s decision is inextricably linked to an alleged illegal funding of his campaign prior to his 2007 election.
Investigators investigating money flows out of Libya – for the purpose of which he may face a new trial – wiretapped Sarkozy’s two phone lines. They also discovered a secret number used by Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herrzog.
Sarkozy planned to get a Monaco top job for Gilbert Azibert, in exchange for information on an investigation into allegations that he received illegal payments from L’Oreal’s heiress Liliane Betencourt.
Both Herzog and Azibert were also charged with corruption and influence-peddling by the appeals court.
Sophie Clement, the judge who presided over the case, said that Herzog’s judgment was faulty because of his friendship to former French President Francois Mitterrand.
Judge said that the lawyer had violated professional code of conduct for failing to inform Sarkozy he was in violation of the law.
Sarkozy said he did not know what Herzog and Azibert discussed, and that wiretapped conversations shouldn’t be used as evidence.
The judge rejected his arguments.
Sarkozy may be in trouble again
The French prosecution is seeking to bring Sarkozy, 12 other defendants and others before the court over claims that Colonel Muammar Gadafi, late Libyan dictator’s government gave him secretly EUR50m (PS43m).
The amount was double the legal limit for campaign funding at the time, and it would have violated rules against foreign campaign financing.
In 2016, Ziad Takieddine, a French-Lebanese entrepreneur, told the independent French online paper Mediapart how he had delivered suitcases full of cash to Sarkozy’s former chief of staff and Libya.
Sarkozy tried to shut down the investigation after Takieddine changed his story.
Last Friday, the French National Prosecutor’s Office announced that it would seek a trial. Sarkozy is now in the hands of the judges who will decide whether or not the case proceeds.
In France, judges usually follow the requests of prosecutors. However, it’s not a standard.
In a separate case, Sarkozy received a sentence in September of 365 days under house arrest, for the illegal financing of his failed 2012 reelection campaign, which he lost to Francoise Hollande.
Sarkozy, along with the late Jacques Chirac who was found guilty of corrupt practices in 2011, is the only French president to have been convicted.