Entertainment Paul Bismuth affair: at the resumption of his trial, Nicolas Sarkozy denounces "infamies"

19:40  30 november  2020
19:40  30 november  2020 Source:   europe1.fr

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The resumption of the trial of Nicolas Sarkozy in the so-called "eavesdropping" affair opened with a surprise statement from the former President of the Republic. Accused of corruption and influence peddling, the accused vilified this Monday, before the Paris Criminal Court, "infamies", which "[have been pursuing] for six years". "I do not recognize any of these infamies with which I have been pursued for six years," said the former head of state, in his first words to the Paris Criminal Court.

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After a false start last Monday, the trial resumed in the presence of the former high magistrate Gilbert Azibert, who failed to obtain adjournment of the hearing for health reasons. The 73-year-old former magistrate, an FFP2 mask slipped under his glasses, greeted the former president and his lawyer Thierry Herzog , before taking a seat at their side. Citing his fragile health in the context of the coronavirus epidemic, Gilbert Azibert had requested a dismissal. But after ordering a medical expertise, which deemed him fit to appear, the criminal court ordered him Thursday to come, "in person", to the hearing.

Decisive debates

The afternoon must be devoted to rough but decisive procedural debates, the defense in particular contesting the validity of the proceedings. Nicolas Sarkozy's lawyer, Me Jacqueline Laffont, began to plead the "nullity of the entire procedure", according to them due to "numerous abuses" and "repeated, serious violations" of the rights of the defense in this case .

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In the case of "tapping", Nicolas Sarkozy, 65, is suspected to have, with Me Thierry Herzog, tried to bribe Gilbert Azibert, then in post at the Court of Cassation. According to the prosecution, the former president was seeking to obtain information covered by secrecy, or even to influence a procedure initiated before the high court related to the Bettencourt case - in which he had obtained a dismissal at the end of 2013. In return, he would have given Gilbert Azibert a "boost" for a prestigious position coveted by the latter in Monaco, but which he never obtained.

Unpublished hearing

Nicolas Sarkozy incurs ten years imprisonment and a million euros fine for corruption and influence peddling, like his co-defendants judged in addition for violation of professional secrecy. They contest any infringement. This case, also called "Bismuth", finds its origin in another file: that of suspicions of Libyan financing of the 2007 presidential campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy, which is worth a quadruple indictment .

It is within the framework of these investigations that the judges discovered in 2014 the existence of an unofficial telephone line between the former president and his lawyer, opened under the name of "Paul Bismuth".

This audience is unprecedented. Before Nicolas Sarkozy, only one former president, Jacques Chirac, was tried and sentenced in 2011 in the case of fictitious jobs of the City of Paris , but without ever having appeared before his judges, for health reasons.

At the Bismuth trial, Nicolas Sarkozy claims to have "never committed the slightest act of corruption" .
© Copyright 2020, L'Obs Nicolas Sarkozy denied this Monday at the helm of the Paris Criminal Court to have "never committed the slightest act of corruption ”at the very beginning of his questioning. The former president is heard on Monday, December 7 in the so-called "wiretapping" case.

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