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Nicolas Sarkozy brushed aside the accusations against him in the wiretapping affair, describing them as “infamy” when his trial resumes Monday in Paris.
The former President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, denounced, Monday, November 30, “infamies”, during his trial for corruption in the “wiretapping” case. The hearings resumed a week after a false start in the presence of the three defendants, one of whom, Gilbert Azibert, failed to obtain a dismissal for health reasons.
“Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, you are referred to this tribunal for having …” While the president reads as usual the offenses with which she is accused, the former head of state, hands joined in front of him, stands upright at the bar. Then he asks to say a few words: “I do not recognize any of these infamies with which I have been pursued for six years”, he declares.
The former occupant of the Élysée (2007-2012) then sits down next to his lawyer Thierry Herzog, who appears at his side, and for the first time to the former high magistrate Gilbert Azibert, whose chair had remained empty last week.
Nicolas Sarkozy “tapping” affair: the former president denounces “infamies”
Citing his fragile health in the context of the coronavirus epidemic, the 73-year-old former senior magistrate had requested a dismissal. But after ordering a medical expertise, which deemed him fit to appear, the court ordered him on Thursday to come “in person” to the hearing.
On Monday, the 32nd correctional chamber began examining this case with, first, rough but decisive procedural debates, the defense in particular contesting the validity of the proceedings.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s lawyer, Me Jacqueline Laffont, began to plead the “nullity of the entire procedure”, according to her because of “numerous abuses” and “repeated, serious violations” of the rights of the defense in this case .
Information in exchange for a prestigious position
Never has a former head of state been tried for corruption under the Fifth Republic. Before Nicolas Sarkozy, 65, only one former president, Jacques Chirac, was tried and convicted in 2011 in the case of fictitious jobs in the City of Paris, but without ever having appeared before his judges, for health reasons.
Withdrawn from politics since his defeat in the right-wing primary at the end of 2016 but still very influential at Les Républicains, Nicolas Sarkozy faces ten years in prison and a million euros fine for corruption and influence peddling, like his co -prévenu judged in addition for violation of professional secrecy. They also contest any infringement.
In this case, he is suspected of having, with his lawyer Thierry Herzog, tried to bribe Gilbert Azibert, then in post at the Court of Cassation.
According to the prosecution, Nicolas Sarkozy was seeking to obtain information covered by secrecy, or even to influence a procedure initiated before the high court related to the Bettencourt case in which he had obtained a dismissal at the end of 2013.
In return, he would have given Gilbert Azibert a “boost” for a prestigious position coveted by the latter in Monaco, but which he never obtained.
An unofficial telephone line
This case, also called “Bismuth”, arose from another file which has concerned for years the former head of state: that of the suspicions of Libyan financing of his presidential campaign of 2007, which earned him a quadruple stake. under review.
As part of these investigations, the judges discovered in 2014 the existence of an unofficial telephone line between the former president and his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, opened under the name of “Paul Bismuth”.
The conversations intercepted on this secret line are at the heart of the “eavesdropping” case: they are proof, for the prosecution, of a “corruption pact”. An “illegal” wiretapping, protests the defense, which considers that the secrecy of exchanges between a lawyer and his client has been violated.
The defense must also tackle the “bis” affair, that of the “fadettes”: a preliminary investigation carried out to find the possible “mole” who would have informed Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog that they were heard by justice on the “Bismuth” line.
In this parallel investigation, closed almost six years after its opening, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) – which represents the prosecution at the hearing – peeled the detailed telephone bills (“fadettes”) of several tenors of the bar parisien – major breach of professional secrecy and the privacy of lawyers, according to the advice of defendants.