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Former president sentenced to jail

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to three years in prison, of which he must serve one year. The former politician's lawyer and the bribed judge were also found guilty.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty on Monday on charges of corruption and influence peddling. The prosecution had requested 66-year-old Sarkozy to be sentenced for 4 years in prison, with one year suspended. The final verdict was 3 years in jail, of which two years are suspended. The court also found Sarkozy's lawyer Thierry Herzog and Gilbert Azibert, a former judge, guilty. According to the court, Sarkozy had instructed Herzog to bribe Azibert for information with regards to a separate investigation that focused on the right-wing politician on charges of graft and illicit party financing. All three, the two jurists and Mr Sarkozy, were found guilty of the charges and sentenced to a three-year jail term, of which they all have to serve one full year.

The French National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) originally sought for a tougher, four-year prison term - with two years in jail and two suspended - for the former president, but the hearings have failed to reveal any significant evidence to substantiate the more strict punishment recommended by the prosecution. Even though the sentence meted out by the Paris court is somewhat more lenient, it is of historical significance, as this is the first time a former president had to stand trial for corruption charges.

The verdict becomes binding if no appeal is filed, according to the daily Le Figaro, which reported on the trial.

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