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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy convicted of corruption

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is pictured walking at Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on September 30, 2019. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is pictured walking at Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on September 30, 2019. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

March 1 (UPI) -- Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was convicted on corruption charges Monday and sentenced to more than a year in prison, becoming just the second former French leader to be found guilty of a crime.

The Paris court found Sarkozy guilty of corruption and influence peddling for trying to obtain confidential information from a judge several years ago.

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The court sentenced Sarkozy, 66, to three years in prison with two of those years suspended.

Sarkozy has denied wrongdoing and is expected to appeal. He can also ask to serve the sentence at home with an electronic monitoring bracelet.

Prosecutors accused Sarkozy of forming a "corruption pact" with then-magistrate Gilbert Azibert in 2014 to obtain secret information in a criminal inquiry by offering him a job in Monaco.

The court also found Sarkozy guilty of influence peddling relating to wiretaps. His attorney Thierry Herzog and Azibert were tried with Sarkozy and were also convicted and sentenced to the same punishment Monday.

Detectives started wiretapping Sarkozy's conversations over accusations he received illegal campaign financing from former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Sarkozy, who was president of France between 2007 and 2012, will stand trial later this month in a separate case in which he is charged with violating campaign spending limits.

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Sarkozy is just the second former French president in modern history to be convicted of a crime.

Former President Jacques Chirac was the first, convicted in 2011 of embezzlement and misusing public funds. He received a suspended two-year sentence.

Sarkozy was defeated by Francois Hollande in 2012 and entered semi-retirement before making an unsuccessful comeback attempt at the French presidency in 2016.

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