Park aide snubs impeachment trial
10 Jan 2017 - 23:19
Seoul: Disgraced South Korean President Park Geun-hye's longtime friend at the centre of a massive corruption scandal refused to testify at Park's impeachment trial yesterday, with lawmakers alleging that it was a stalling tactic.
The Constitutional Court had expected to hear from Choi Soon-sil, a confidante of Park who's currently jailed and on trial herself for allegedly using her connections with the president to extort money and favors from companies and unlawfully interfere with government affairs.
But Choi submitted documents to the court saying she was unable to testify because she had to prepare for her own trial.
Two jailed former presidential aides who purportedly helped Choi also refused to testify, saying they needed to prepare for their own trials as well.
Lawmakers, who function as prosecutors at the impeachment trial, raised suspicions that Park's lawyers were controlling the witnesses in order to stall.
"Three important witnesses all refused to testify, like they planned it ahead," said lawmaker Lee Chun-suak. "We think there's an invisible hand at work (controlling the witnesses)."
Choi said in the documents that it was difficult for her to testify because she needed time to prepare for her trial, which is being held at a different court, said Park Han-Chul, the Constitutional Court's chief justice.