PARIS (AP) — The trial of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on charges that his unsuccessful 2012 reelection bid was illegally financed has formally started. The scandal had thrown his conservative party into turmoil. Sarkozy is facing allegations that he spent almost twice the maximum legal amount of 22.5 million euros ($27.5 million) in his 2012 reelection bid, which he lost to Socialist Francois Hollande. If found guilty, the 66-year-old faces up to one year in prison and a $4,580 fine. He denies wrongdoing. Sarkozy was not present Thursday at the Paris court, where he was represented by his lawyers. In March, he was convicted in a separate case of corruption and influence peddling. He appealed that verdict.
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