The present legal woes of Nicholas Sarkozy may be a blueprint for what Trump can expect in the future

The parallels between Sarkozy and Trump are striking, and one of them is that their electorates found their in-their-face presidential styles tiring. They were both retired after one term. In 2012, the French opted for a “normal” president. That was the term incoming president François Hollande used to describe himself. But the French quickly tired of “normality” and retired Hollande as well, after just one term.

In office, he was dubbed le président tous azimuts – the “all-out president”, who dabbled in almost every policy. He appointed loyalists to most top posts, and several got into trouble for ignoring the boundaries of the law.  Like Trump, he demands loyalty.  As one French éditorialiste wrote in Le Monde, with Sarkozy it was either “allegiance or vengeance.”

Unfortunately for Sarkozy, this is only the first of his trials. In the spring of 2021, he and several colleagues will go on trial for the so-called Bygmalion affair.  The charge is that his re-election campaign in 2012 used the Bygmalion public relations firm to launder receipts, thus filling the campaign coffers with millions more than campaign finance laws allowed. The third possible trial involves tens of millions of dollars from, of all people, Moammar Gadhafi, the then-Libyan leader — money carried to France in suitcases to finance Sarkozy’s winning presidential campaign in 2007.

CBC News

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy will go on trial Monday over allegations of corruption and influence peddling.

Prosecutors said that he case rests on conversations between Sarkozy and Gilbert Azibert, a judge. Taped phone calls suggest Sarkozy wanted to offer Azibert a job in Monaco in return for information on a case.

Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing: “I am combative, I have no intention of being accused of things I haven’t done. I’m not corrupt and what has been inflicted on me is a scandal that will rest in the annals. The truth will come out”, he said, adding that he believes judiciary were waging a vendetta against him.


Investigators had from 2013 been wiretapping conversations between Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog as they delved into allegations of Libyan financing in Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign.

Prosecutors have said wiretaps showed that Sarkozy and Herzog had on multiple occasions discussed contacting Azibert, a magistrate at the Cour de Cassation, France’s top appeals court for criminal cases, and well-informed on the Bettencourt inquiry.

They allege that Sarkozy offered to help Azibert get the Monaco job in return for insider help. Sarkozy told BFM TV this month Azibert never got the job. Herzog and Azibert are both on trial with Sarkozy, charged with corruption and influence-peddling. They are also accused of “violating professional secrecy”. They deny any wrongdoing.