France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy hit back after being charged with corruption, denying he broke the law and suggesting his political enemies were interfering with the French justice system.
"I have never committed any act contrary to the values of the republic or the rule of law," Sarkozy said Wednesday after he was charged on three corruption-related counts that threaten to torpedo his hopes of a political comeback.
"I have never betrayed the confidence" of the French people, he said in a televised interview — his first major appearance since he lost the 2012 presidential election to Francois Hollande.
Sarkozy decried what he called "political interference" in the case – a suggestion that opponents like the ruling Socialists were behind his legal woes.
"In our country, which is the country of human rights and the rule of law, there are things that are being organised," Sarkozy said.
He also said there had been an "intention to humiliate" in judges ordering that he be taken into formal custody on Tuesday – an unprecedented move against a former French leader.