French Far-Right Leader Is Found Guilty of Assault

Associated Press

A court convicted far-right political leader Jean-Marie Le Pen on Thursday of attacking a Socialist candidate and imposed a sentence that could force him from office.

The ruling stripped Le Pen of his civic rights for two years, which would force him to resign his two elected posts and lose the right to vote. However, the sentence would be stayed during an appeal, which Le Pen is expected to file.

Le Pen also received a three-month suspended prison sentence and the equivalent of a $3,333 fine on the charges of violence and abuse, brought over his scuffle during legislative elections in May.

Le Pen, 69, the leader of the National Front, was not present in the courtroom for the verdict. He has denied guilt.

The clash occurred in Mantes-la-Jolie near Paris as Le Pen was campaigning for daughter Marie-Caroline Le Pen in her bid for a legislative seat.

Le Pen ended up in a scuffle with a handful of people protesting his presence, among them Socialist candidate Annette Peulvast-Bergeal, who fell to the ground but was not seriously injured.

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