The Korea Times
Court allows live broadcasting of Park verdict
The verdict and possible sentencing of former President Park Geun-hye on corruption charges scheduled for Friday will be broadcast live.
The Seoul Central District Court said Tuesday that despite Park’s protests it decided to air the verdict as “it is a matter of public interest.”
The broadcast will start at 2:10 p.m., and court cameras will be used instead of allowing TV cameramen into the courtroom.
However, it is expected that Park will not attend the reading of the verdict as she has boycotted hearings since October. In February, the prosecution asked the court for a prison sentence of 30 years and a fine of 118.5 billion won ($110 million) for the former president who was ousted from power and arrested for corruption involving her close friend, Choi Soon-sil.
The verdict and sentencing, if she is found guilty, will be the first to be aired under revised court rules.
Last year, the Supreme Court changed internal rules to selectively allow the televising of verdicts that are in the public interest.
It earlier ruled against televising those of Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Choi, citing that damages which could be incurred overrode the public interest.
Among the charges against the former president is forcing companies to “donate” huge sums of money to sports institutes controlled by Choi. In exchange, she, allegedly doled out business favors.
“Park is the central figure in the influence-peddling scandal. She was head of state and a political figure with ultimate power, and had full authority in managing administrative affairs,” the prosecution stated in its summing up during the last hearing in February. “She gave powerful discretion to a private individual, Choi Soon-sil, thereby subjecting the public to unprecedented trauma stemming from the scandal from which it cannot easily recover.”
A recently added charge was soliciting money from the National Intelligence Service to cover personal expenses and bonuses for members of her inner circle at Cheong Wa Dae.
She may now face additional charges as it was unveiled that she made misleading statements on her whereabouts April 16, 2014, the day of the ferry Sewol disaster.
The prosecution’s investigation found that she stayed in her residence all morning avoiding urgent memos sent to her by her secretaries. Her first face-to-face meeting on the disaster, which took more than 300 lives, was earlier than she reported, and in the presence of Choi. She decided to fly to the site in the afternoon.