- It was the second guilty verdict this year for Sarkozy, who led France from 2007 to 2012.
- Sarkozy retains influence among conservatives despite falling from grace over his legal woes.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty Thursday of illegal campaign financing over his failed 2012 re-election bid.
The guilty verdict in a Paris court was the second this year for Sarkozy, who led France from 2007 to 2012 and retains influence among conservatives despite falling from grace over his legal woes.
Prosecutors are seeking a one-year prison sentence, half of it suspended, for the 66-year-old former president. He is unlikely to go to jail immediately because he would likely appeal the sentence.
His conservative party, the prosecutors said, spent nearly double the 22.5 million euros (currently $19.2 million) allowed under electoral law and then hired a friendly public relations agency to hide the cost of extravagant campaign rallies.
Sarkozy has denied wrongdoing. He told the court in June that he had not been involved in the logistics of his campaign for a second term as president or in how money was spent during the campaign.
But the court said that Sarkozy was made aware of the overspending, that he did not act on it, and that it was not necessary for him to approve each individual spending item to be responsible.
Sarkozy was found guilty in a separate trial in March of trying to bribe a judge and peddle influence in order to obtain confidential information on a judicial inquiry. He also denied wrongdoing in that case.
The former president was sentenced to three years in prison in that trial — two of which were suspended — but has not spent time behind bars while his appeal is pending.