Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sarkozy in Garde à Vue

Investigators seem to be closing in on former president Nicolas Sarkozy. He is now being held in garde à vue at the HQ of the Police Judiciaire of Nanterre, which is investigating charges of influence peddling stemming from an attempt to scotch another investigation of alleged illegal financing of Sarkozy's 2007 presidential campaign by Muammar Qaddafi, whom Sarkozy later helped topple from power (and, indirectly, kill). Got that?

Of course, the "presumption of innocence" remains.

En droit pénal français, la garde à vue est le maintien à disposition, sous contrainte, d'une personne soupçonnée d'avoir commis ou tenté de commettre un crime ou undélit, par les forces de police ou de gendarmerie dans le cadre d'une enquête judiciaire. C'est une mesure privative de liberté, d'une durée strictement limitée qui reste sous le contrôle permanent de l'autorité judiciaire. Le fait de s'y soustraire constitue une évasion, réprimée en tant que telle par le Code pénal.

Of course, the really flabbergasting thing is that while all this is going on, Sarko is preparing his political comeback and threatening to retake control of the UMP, whose present crisis was precipitated by a scandal involving the financing of his 2012 campaign. That the party would want him back with all of these criminal matters unresolved is a measure of the desperate straits to which it has been reduced.


Anonymous said...

Chirac, Sarkozy, Hollande -- each in their own way an embarrassment, signs of the political enervation of France since the 1990s. Would be par for the course, if France's political system weren't so dependent on specifically president-orchestrated change, adaptation, and initiative.

Mitch Guthman said...

Le Monde in the last few hours: "Après une journée de garde à vue dans les locaux de la police judiciaire à Nanterre, Nicolas Sarkozy a été mis en examen pour « corruption active », « trafic d'influence » et « recel de violation du secret professionnel » dans la nuit du mardi 1er au mercredi 2 juillet dans le cadre d'une enquête sur un trafic d'influence présumé."

Unless these are basically procedural formalities, it looks like things went downhill for Sarkozy very, very fast. So, what happened during those roughly 18 hours? I seriously doubt that Sarkozy said anything helpful. My impression of Sarko is that he's a smart, disciplined guy who isn't going to deviate from the party line.

I think most American criminal lawyers would naturally deduce that one or more of the people taken into police custody with Sarkozy "flipped" on him and became a cooperator. I looked for analysis about this but couldn't find any but that would be the percentage bet in my country . Do people "flip" or turn Queen's evidence (I.e, grass) in the French system? Is there a primer on the French criminal justice or an analysis that would discuss the differences between the American (or English) and French criminal justice systems?