So far, it has only appeared on the first day of appeal trial of the “Bygmalion” case. Nicolas Sarkozy, sentenced at first instance to one year in prison, returns to the stand this Friday for his interrogation on the excessive spending of his 2012 presidential campaign. Bringing up the rear of the interrogations, the former head of state (2007 -2012) is heard in the morning.
He has been retried since November 8, alongside nine other people who appealed, partially or in full, their conviction in September 2021. Unlike his co-defendants, Nicolas Sarkozy is not accused of the system false invoices himself, imagined to hide the explosion in his campaign’s expenses (nearly 43 million euros, while the legal ceiling was 22.5 million). But he was sentenced at first instance to one year in prison for having exceeded this legal limit.
The criminal court underlined in its judgment that the former tenant of the Élysée “continued the organization of” electoral meetings, “requesting one meeting per day”, even though he “had been warned in writing” of the risk legal overrun, then actual overrun.
During the first trial, the ex-president ured that “money does not(had) not been in (her) campaign” and had accused the communications agency Bygmalion, founded by relatives of his rival Jean-François Copé, of being “glutted”. Then he described as “unjust” his conviction to the maximum sentence then provided for by law, and promised to contest it “until the end”.
A still busy legal agenda
At the opening of the new trial, Nicolas Sarkozy declared that he would explain the reasons for his appeal which concerns both “the principle of the conviction and the quantum” of the sentence. As before the criminal court, his defense argued that the court could not “seek criminal liability” of the ex-president for exceeding the legal ceiling of his campaign accounts, this point having already been sanctioned by the Constitutional Council.
In July 2013, the highest court of the judiciary rejected the candidate’s campaign accounts for an excess then estimated at only 446,000 euros. The court will rule on this issue at the end of the trial.
Before the court of appeal, his co-defendants maintained their positions, evoking a disorganized campaign, the subject of a “runaway”. The former general director of Bygmalion, Guy Alves, estimated that the former president was the “sole beneficiary”, an opinion shared by the former deputy director of the campaign, Jérôme Lavrilleux, who said Thursday that everything had been made “for the benefit of the candidate”. “I have been fighting for almost ten years so that we stop calling it the Bygmalion affair, but the affair of Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign accounts,” he added.
This affair adds to other legal troubles for Nicolas Sarkozy. He was convicted last May in the wiretapping affair, to three years of imprisonment, one of which is closed, a decision against which he filed an appeal. In this aspect, a recent decision of the Constitutional Council which censures a procedural rule could benefit it.
The former head of state will appear in 2025 on suspicion of Libyan financing of his victorious 2007 presidential campaign. He was also indicted, at the beginning of October, in the aspect of this affair linked to the retraction of the intermediary Ziad Takieddine.