To allow a medical report on the defendant, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s trial on corruption and influence peddling was suspended Monday, less than two hours after it began.
There are allegations that Sarkozy illegally tried to obtain information from a magistrate in 2014 about an investigation involving him.
He is on trial in Paris with his lawyer, Thierry Herzog, 65, and Magistrate Gilbert Azibert, 73. They face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million euros ($ 1.5 million CDN). They denied any wrongdoing.
France’s richest woman, L’Oreal’s heiress Lillian Bettencourt, is suspected of giving Sarkozy and Herzog a job in Monaco instead of leaking information about an investigation into suspicious funding for the 2007 presidential election campaign.
Sarkozy appeared in court on Monday in the presence of dozens of journalists surrounded by his lawyers and bodyguards. The Paris court has placed high security as the trial in the case continues until December 10, while another crucial trial is underway – the 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s offices and the kosher supermarket.
The trial began on Monday in the absence of Azibert, with counsel requesting that the trial be adjourned. He argued that his client ‘s ill health amid the coronavirus epidemic made it dangerous for him to travel and appear in court, leading the court to suspend proceedings pending a medical report by a specialist. The trial is set to resume on Thursday.
In 2014, Sarkozy and Herzog used secret mobile phones – registered under the alias “Paul Bismuth” – to hold private talks for fear that their conversations would be suppressed.
Sarkozy and Herzog explained that they bought the phones to avoid being targeted by illegal phone tapping. Investigative judges, in fact, suspect that they want to avoid being caught by investigators.
‘Judges are listening’
Negotiations between Sarkozy and his lawyer found that at the time the judges found that they had the knowledge that forensic investigators were tapping their conversations on their official phones – which they called “judges listening”.
Sarkozy argues that the job did not come and that he never intervened to help Azibert, who retired in 2014.
As soon as the investigating judges reach an agreement, it is considered a criminal offense if the promises are not fulfilled.
Legal action against Sarkozy was dropped in the Bettencourt case.
Sarkozy pointed out legal harassment, accusing lawyers of violating lawyer-client authority through word-of-mouth.
“I do not want things to happen against me that I do not do. I need to know French … I’m not a rotten person,” the news broadcaster told BFM earlier this month.
He said he was facing trial in a “fighting” mood.