Judge in Sarkozy Case Receives Death Threat

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the World Economic Forum in 2011Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr.com

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the World Economic Forum in 2011
Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr.com

The main judge presiding over the case investigating former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for taking advantage of elderly French billionaire, Liliane Bettencourt, received a death threat on Wednesday, March 27.  The letter, along with several blank gun cartridges, was sent to Jean-Michel Gentil’s office in Bordeaux.  Other magistrates were threatened as well, according to spokesperson Sophie Combe from the Magistrates Union.

The letter was signed from the “law enforcement interaction,” but police are clamoring for answers. The identity of the sender, or senders, is still unknown.

Controversy has surrounded the legal probe from the beginning with members of Sarkozy’s party, Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), questioning the judge’s political partiality.  Several critics have come forward, claiming the investigation is merely an attempt to smear Sarkozy.

Sarkozy has been accused of obtaining illegal funding for his 2007 campaign and for one count of “abus de faibless” concerning Madame Bettencourt, whose mental health allegedly began to deteriorate in 2006.  The heiress is believed to have given over 4 million euros (approximately 5.2 million dollars), to the presidential campaign in cash, well over the 4,600 euro limit for individuals under French law.

Sarkozy has been under investigation since November of 2012 for illegal campaign financing, and this most recent development could jeopardize the potential presidential bid in 2015 that he has been hinting at in recent weeks. 

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