Sarkozy faces new trial over 2012 campaign finance

PARIS (AP) — French former President Nicolas Sarkozy is scheduled to go on trial Wednesday on charges that his unsuccessful reelection bid in 2012 was illegally financed.

The new case is scheduled to open two weeks after he was convicted of corruption and influence peddling in another case, a decision he has appealed.

However, the new trial is likely to be quickly suspended and postponed to a later date because one of the defense lawyers has been hospitalized with COVID-19.

The 66-year-old Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, is facing allegations that he spent almost twice the maximum authorized amount — EUR22.5 million — in his 2012 re-election bid, which he lost to Socialist Francois Hollande.

If found guilty, he faces up to one year in prison and a fine of EUR3,750. He denied
any wrongdoing.

According to the judicial investigation, Sarkozy “indisputably benefited from fraud that allowed him to have, during his 2012 campaign, resources much superior to what the law
was authorising”.

Two weeks ago, Sarkozy was convicted of corruption and influence peddling and sentenced to one year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence, which is being appealed.