Trump indictment is first for US, but not a global rarity

  • Donald Trump is accused of falsifying business records in a 34-count indictment
  • The indictment's a first for the US, but not for other countries
  • Numerous former global leaders have been prosecuted after leaving office

(NewsNation) — While Donald Trump’s arraignment is a historic and unprecedented moment for the U.S., it’s not so rare on a global scale.

Over the past two decades, multiple former leaders have been jailed or prosecuted after leaving office, including in democracies such as France and Israel.

Two years ago, a court handed former French president Nicolas Sarkozy a one-year prison sentence for corruption and influence peddling. His home was raided and searched as part of the investigation into whether he tried to bribe a magistrate.

Sarkozy’s predecessor was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money while he was the mayor of Paris. He was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing an ongoing corruption trial. He was indicted back in 2019 for charges including fraud and breach of trust. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted in 2015 of fraud, breach of trust and tax evasion. Four years prior to that, former Israeli President Moshe Katsav went to prison for rape and other sexual offenses.

According to reports, South Korea convicted five former presidents starting in the 1990s. Former President Lee Myung-bak was sentenced to a 17-year prison term for corruption crimes but received a special pardon.

Some ex-leaders are still serving sentences, including former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, who was found guilty in 2020 of corruption and received an eight-year prison sentence. Others had their names cleared. Former German President Christian Wulff went on trial in 2013 on accusations he was granting favors in office. He was found not guilty the following year.

Al Jazeera reports that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has faced more than 30 criminal cases since jumping into politics in 1994. He was acquitted of bribery charges in three different trials and of charges related to underage prostitution in one trial.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva governed Brazil between 2003 and 2010. A few years later, he was convicted of taking bribes and spent time behind bars, preventing him from running for another presidential term. In 2021, a Brazilian Supreme Court judge annulled Lula’s criminal convictions. Now, he is serving as Brazil’s 39th and current president.

Trump entered a not guilty plea to felony accusations of falsifying business records connected to hush money payments that are laid out in a 34-count indictment. The first former U.S. president to face criminal charges is returning to his Mar-a-Lago home on Tuesday evening to deliver a prime-time speech as his 2024 presidential run continues.

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