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March 1, 2021, 8:46 a.m. EST

Former French president Sarkozy found guilty of corruption and influence peddling

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Sarkozy said he did not get confidential information from Azibert.

Prosecutors believe Sarkozy was at some point informed that the secret phones were being wiretapped and that it is the reason he did not ultimately help Azibert get the job.

The confidentiality of communications between a lawyer and his client has been a major point of contention in the trial.

“You have in front of you a man of whom more that 3,700 private conversations have been wiretapped. … What did I do to deserve that?” Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy’s defense lawyer, Jacqueline Laffont, argued the whole case was based on “small talk” between a lawyer and his client.

“You don’t have the beginning of a piece of evidence, not the slightness witness account, the slightness declaration,” she told the court.

Sarkozy withdrew from active politics after failing to be chosen as his conservative party’s presidential candidate for France’s 2017 election, won by Emmanuel Macron.

He remains very popular amid right-wing voters, however, and plays a major role behind the scenes, including through maintaining a relationship with Macron, whom he is said to advise on certain topics. His memoirs published this summer, “The Time of Storms,” was a bestseller for weeks.

Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign.

His conservative party is suspected of having spent 42.8 million euros ($50.7 million), almost twice the maximum authorized, to finance the campaign, which ended in victory for Socialist rival Francois Hollande.

In another investigation opened in 2013, Sarkozy is accused of having taken millions from then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to illegally finance his 2007 campaign.

He was handed preliminary charges of passive corruption, illegal campaign financing, concealment of stolen assets from Libya and criminal association. He has denied wrongdoing.

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