Nicolas Sarkozy is expected, Tuesday, November 2, to testify at the trial of his former relatives in the case of the Elysee polls. Protected by the presidential immunity conferred on him by the Constitution, Mr. Sarkozy has never been prosecuted or heard about suspicions of favoritism and embezzlement of public funds on which his former collaborators have been explained since October 18.
Corn the president of the 32e Correctional Chamber of the Paris Court ordered, on October 19, his appearance as a witness – if needed “By the police” -, estimating his hearing “Necessary for the manifestation of the truth”. Cited as a witness by the Anticor association, civil party, Nicolas Sarkozy had let it be known, in a letter to the court, that he did not intend to come, as he had already done during the investigation.
Until now, justice had never forced a former head of state to testify on facts in connection with acts accomplished in the exercise of his functions. Following the court’s decision, Mr. Sarkozy informed him that he would be present at the hearing on Tuesday, at 1:30 p.m., and that it was useless to appeal to the police, confirmed to the ‘Agence France-Presse (AFP) its lawyer, Thierry Herzog.
However, many questions remain around this unprecedented testimony. Nicolas Sarkozy could thus oppose silence to certain questions, if not all, by invoking in particular professional secrecy.
“Me, I do not respond to provocations. (…) You have to be calm, not to be passionate, not to upset things. There is a Constitution, there are laws and we must respect them, that’s the only thing I ask ”, he claimed, on October 20, on the sidelines of a signing session in Lyon.
Services worth several million euros
If he decides to speak, his statements could have a significant impact on the determination of responsibility in this matter. On the defendants’ bench, five of his former employees or advisers have been questioned for two weeks on consulting services and the provision of surveys which cost several million euros between 2007 and 2012.
None was the subject of a call for tenders, which constitutes, for the prosecution, favoritism on the part of the former secretary general Claude Guéant, the former chief of staff Emmanuelle Mignon and from the one who was then technical advisor “Opinion”, Julien Vaulpré.
Suspected of having taken advantage of a “Unjustified advantage”, the former pollster Pierre Giacometti and the very right-handed political scientist Patrick Buisson are tried for concealment of favoritism. Mr. Buisson is also being prosecuted for abuse of corporate assets, as well as for the embezzlement of 1.4 million euros of public funds around margins of 65.7% to 71% on the resale of surveys – Mr. Guéant and Mme Mignon being implicated in this section for negligence.
During the hearings, the defendants argued that never, since 1958, the Elysee Palace had subscribed to the rules of public order and that it is precisely from the five-year term of Nicolas Sarkozy that they had started to apply. They also claimed that a competition would have been impossible, as the advisers had been ” choose “ and signed contracts “On instruction” by Nicolas Sarkozy.