Sarkozy denies all charges in first statement during corruption trial

 Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy denied an array of corruption charges against him as he appeared in court on Monday, according to a report by French news agency AFP.

In his first public statement on the matter, he said, “I don’t confess to any of these shameful charges, with which people have been pursuing me for six years.’’

Sarkozy and his long-time attorney Thierry Herzog stand accused of corruption and influence-peddling, based on an alleged attempt to bribe Gilbert Azibert, a prosecutor, in 2014 to get secret information about a separate investigation concerning campaign financing.

The trial began on Nov. 23, but stalled initially while the court sought a medical opinion on whether Azibert was fit to attend.

Azibert, who is also a defendant, has since been ruled fit and has appeared in court.

The accused face sentences of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to 1 million euros (1.2 million dollars) if found guilty.

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