Will the Sarkozy trial take place? The former President of the Republic is expected this Monday afternoon at the Paris court. Indicted in the Libyan case, awaiting trial for the Bygmalion case, it is within the framework of that known as “telephone tapping” that he will be on the dock for the first time. A historic audience: never in the V e Republic a former head of state was found before a judge for “corruption” and “influence peddling”.
While scheduled to be held in October, the trial was initially postponed to November 23, and could again be postponed. One of the three defendants, Gilbert Azibert, 74, is not able to appear, according to his defense, which requests a suspension of the hearings for medical expertise, which the president of the criminal court should grant. It seems unlikely to do without the presence of the magistrate, central element of this case, better known under the name of “Paul Bismuth”.
To understand it well, return to 2013. Nicolas Sarkozy left the Elysee Palace a year ago and the Paris Financial Prosecutor’s Office can now investigate the “Libyan issue”: a possible financing of the 2007 presidential campaign by the regime of Muammar Gaddafi . In this context, the examining magistrate Serge Tournaire places the former President of the Republic on tapping. But he quickly understood that he was using another line, open in the name of “Paul Bismuth”, to communicate with his council, Thierry Herzog. The lawyer and his client do not discuss Libya but the Bettencourt affair, for which Nicolas Sarkozy nevertheless obtained a dismissal three months before these wiretaps.
But a decision of the Court of Cassation, within the framework of this procedure, is still awaited. It concerns the diaries of the former tenant of the Élysée Palace, of which the latter contests the legality of the seizure.
Over the wiretaps, the judges discovered that Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog obtained information on the current cassation procedure from the first Advocate General, the famous Gilbert Azibert. The Paris court will also seek to know if this magistrate tried to influence the decision of the court and, above all, what benefits he could derive from it.
And it is Thierry Herzog who explains it himself to Nicolas “Bismuth” Sarkozy, in February 2014, as revealed in the investigation file, which partially transcribes these secret conversations. Gilbert Azibert is eyeing a post in the Monegasque Council of State, but asks for a “helping hand”. The lawyer specifies to his client: “I said to him: ‘Are you kidding, with what you do…”. “ Nicolas Sarkozy also gives his agreement and plans to go to Monaco to use his influence. But at the end of February, on his official line this time, he said he had given up. A few weeks later, Thierry Herzog nevertheless assures Gilbert Azibert that “The process has been taken”.
Defendants face up to ten years in prison
According to the investigation file, neither the existence of a mole who would have warned Nicolas Sarkozy of the tapping, nor the reality and the outcome of the process with the Monegasque authorities could not be proven. However, the only “intention” reiterated by the lawyer and his client is sufficient to characterize the offenses of “corruption” and “trading in influence”. These two charges are thus retained for the three defendants, Nicolas Sarkozy, Thierry Herzog and Gilbert Azibert, who face up to ten years in prison.
In view of Gilbert Azibert’s central role in the case, it therefore seems unlikely that the court will not suspend the hearings. However, do not see it as a maneuver by the former President of the Republic to avoid a confrontation with the judges. On the contrary, he seems in a hurry to do battle. It is a combative, even aggressive Nicolas Sarkozy, who should appear at the bar, like his attitude on BFMTV on November 13, where he notably said “Appalled” by court cases which “Lead” his life.
The PNF should be offensive
Two days earlier, Nicolas Sarkozy was exulting: Ziad Takieddine, who for four years claimed to have transported suitcases of cash from the Gaddafi regime to finance the campaign funds of the UMP, did an about-face, explaining that he lied by giving in under pressure from the examining magistrate, Serge Tournaire.
Nicolas Sarkozy then implies that he would be the victim of a plot by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), also accused of having illegally peeled the telephone bills of a dozen lawyers in his search for the “mole “, According to information revealed by point in June 2020. The PNF, who had already shown great determination during the Fillon trial last February, should also be offensive, and ask the angry questions, including in the Libyan case.
The hearings which begin this Monday and must continue until December 10 therefore promise to be hot. They still have to take place.