A?Parisian?court Monday found former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon guilty of using public money to pay his wife more?than?$1 million for work she never performed.
Fillon?was?sentenced?to five years in prison?¡ª?three years suspended?¡ª?and fined?more?than $423,000. He is also barred?from?running for?public?office?for 10 years.?
His?wife, Penelope,?was convicted as an?accomplice. She was given a three-year?suspended?sentence?and?was?also?fined more than?$423,000. Both are free pending?appeal,?which their?lawyers?say?they will do.??
''Naturally, this decision, which is not fair, is going to be appealed.?¡ The ludicrous conditions under which this investigation was triggered, the scandalous conditions in which the discovery was opened, the?surprising?conditions in which the investigation was then run," Fillion¡¯s attorney Antonin Levy?said.?
Penelope Fillion¡¯s attorney, Pierre?Cornut-Gentille, says prosecutors failed to determine whether her activities?were?simply traditional help and support?a politician¡¯s wife gives her husband.??
She said her?duties?included?writing reports about local issues, reading mail,?preparing?speeches?and?meeting?with voters?¡ª?work she said allowed her to have a flexible?schedule?and still raise her children.??
Prosecutors?argued that there was little evidence?that?Penelope Fillion?ever?worked?and said her salary was?excessive.??
Fillion¡¯s lawyers argued that the state cannot?interfere?with how a politician sets?up?his office.??
The scandal broke shortly before the 2017 French presidential election where Fillon went from being the front-runner to finishing in third place.