Thursday 29 September 2016

Sarkozy's lawyers ask court to throw out evidence obtained through wiretaps of phone conversations between himself and lawyer

Published 28/01/2016 | 12:18

Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to seek the conservative nomination to run for president again next year
Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to seek the conservative nomination to run for president again next year

Nicolas Sarkozy's lawyers have asked France's highest court to throw out evidence obtained through wiretaps of phone conversations between the former French president and his main lawyer.

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It is one of several legal cases in which the opposition leader's name has appeared, but the most potentially damaging to his political future. He is expected to seek the conservative nomination to run for president again next year.

Mr Sarkozy is under preliminary charges for active corruption and influence-peddling based on information gleaned from the phone taps in 2013-2014. His lawyers have said they were carried out in breach of a lawyer-client privilege.

A lower court ruled the phone taps did not break any laws and Mr Sarkozy appealed.

The Cour de Cassation heard the case and will rule at a later date. Mr Sarkozy did not attend.

His phones were tapped as part of an investigation into suspected illegal financing of his successful 2007 presidential campaign.

But conversations heard via the phone taps brought to light a completely new legal case.

During Thursday's hearing, the lawyers also argued that the evidence gathered from the phone taps was illegally diverted from the initial investigation to launch a new one without specific authorisation.

While his name has been mentioned in many legal cases since 2010, Mr Sarkozy has never been convicted of wrongdoing or been sent to trial.

If the court rules the wiretapping was legal, the preliminary charges against Mr Sarkozy will stand in the legal case that has the greatest chances of seeing him put on trial in the near future.

If it is ruled illegal, Mr Sarkozy will enjoy a boost ahead of what is expected to be a tough conservative primary later this year.

Press Association

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