Romania’s top court has ruled against an appeal for a retrial made by the former chairman of the Social Democratic Party who is serving a 3 ½ years sentence for instigating official misconduct,
The five judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice published their decision on Tuesday after a week’s deliberation. The ruling is final.
They said in their judgment: „The appeal from the Dragnea Nicolae Liviu is without merit, and rejected,” ordering him to pay 200 lei court costs and 627 lei each to court-appointed defense lawyers.
Dragnea was sentenced in May 2019 to 3 ½ years in prison for instigating official misconduct.
The court ruled that Dragnea, 57, used his influence to procure fake public sector jobs for women who were working for the party. At the time, he was head of the Teleorman county council.
The former strongman, who appeared in court on Jan. said “I am completely innocent, and I’ve been in prison for eight months, an innocent person”
He told the court he would not pay the damages he was ordered to pay because”It doesn’t seem normal for me to pay for something I haven’t done.”
Romania’s high court in December rejected another appeal to get his sentence overturned/
Dragnea, who was also speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, was seen as Romania’s most powerful politician after the Social Democrats won 2016 parliamentary elections.
The party then embarked on a contentious judicial overhaul that critics said would water down the fight against high-level corruption and make it much harder to pursue corruption cases. The move sparked the biggest street protests since the end of communism and drew rebuke from the European Union and U.S. State Department.
He was sent to trial in 2016 and was jailed on May 27, 2019, a day after the party suffered big losses in European Parliament elections.
He’s also on trial on suspicion he illegally obtained EU funds for a road project in southern Romania.