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July 13, 2014 AT 6:53 AM
In accusing magistrates of persecuting him, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is taking on an old enemy in a fight that could hurt both politicians and judges, fuelling a sense of public disenchantment with France's ruling elite. Sarkozy's hopes of winning back power suffered a heavy blow when, after 15 hours in police custody, he was placed under formal investigation on July 2, suspected of using his influence to gain details of a probe into his 2007 election campaign. Now targeted directly or indirectly in six investigations, he has fought back with accusations that the magistrates leading the current case are pursuing a political vendetta against him.