French court rejects Sarkozy plea against diary seizures in graft probe

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

PARIS - France's top court on Tuesday rejected a plea by Nicolas Sarkozy against the seizure of his diaries by judges investigating a corruption case, paving the way for magistrates to keep using the potentially explosive documents.

The former French president appears increasingly threatened by a labyrinthine web of graft cases, and Tuesday’s ruling is crucial as it paves the way for the potentially compromising diaries to be used against him.

The documents were initially confiscated as part of a probe into allegations Sarkozy took advantage of France’s richest woman, 91-year-old Liliane Bettencourt, when she was too frail to know what she was doing to help fund his 2007 election campaign.

Charges against him were dropped in October but 10 other people, including his former campaign treasurer Eric Woerth, have been sent for trial over the allegations.

Lawyers for Sarkozy had argued that confiscating the diaries was illegal but on Tuesday, the Cour de Cassation – France’s top court – said there was no need to rule on whether the seizure was right or wrong as Sarkozy is no longer being probed in the case.