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After France’s ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to a year without parole for illegal campaign financing, supporters crowded into a bookshop in Paris on Saturday to meet the former top official in person and have their copies of his new book ‘Promenades’ signed.

Hundreds of supporters gathered at the Lamartine bookshop while Sarkozy, accompanied by a large number of journalists, signed his newly published book inside.

Outside the shop, supporters traded signed copies among themselves, some using mobile card payment systems.

The now 66-year-old was found guilty of unlawful campaign financing in a particularly serious form, as the presiding judge stated. In the campaign for his re-election in 2012, his campaign team had allegedly spent over 20 million euros more than was allowed.

Sarkozy himself, who did not appear in person for the sentencing, had denied the accusations during the trial. Since he had not taken care of the day-to-day organisation, he declared that he could not be held responsible for the amount of money spent.

In March, Sarkozy was found guilty in a separate trial of trying to bribe a judge and peddle influence.

SOUNDBITES:

SOT, Pierre Francois, Supporter (French): "I came early this morning from Clermont-Ferrand to have Nicolas Sarkozy’s book signed. I took several ones for my family as well. It was very important for me to be here today because I am engaged with the Republicans since the beginning."

SOT, Marie Laure, Supporter (French): "I am here today because I saw this event on social media and I wanted to discover the inside of the President. I want to have the books signed, so it was the occasion."

#Sarkozy #France

Video ID: 20211002-027

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