South Korea's impeached president pleads not guilty in corruption trial
Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye has pleaded not guilty at her corruption trial. Park, who was impeached earlier, faces charges of bribery, abusing state power and leaking state secrets. She arrived at court handcuffed in a prison van, her first public appearance since her arrest in March. If found guilty, Park would face over 10 years in jail time.
South Korean court impeaches President Park Guen-hye
In a first for the South Korean democracy, judges on March 10 decided to impeach President Park Guen-hye from her office. She was found guilty for being involved in a corruption scandal with her close friend Choi Soon-sil. She lost her presidential immunity. Both Park and Choi denied any wrongdoing.
South Korea: Former President Park Geun-hye indicted in corruption scandal
On April 17, former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, on trial for alleged corruption, was indicted on several charges including bribery. Geun-hye denied all allegations during five rounds of questioning. Prosecutors also ended a probe into the 'abuse of power' scandal that led to her impeachment; she was arrested on March 31. Geun-hye allegedly used her position to extort money from large firms.
Park faces 18 charges, has 120,000 page long charge sheet
Park faces allegations of colluding with her friend Choi Soon-sil to extort funds from South Korea's companies, including Samsung, in exchange for political favors. Park faces 18 charges and her charge sheet is 120,000 pages long. Choi also faces charges and was seen sitting next to Park at the trial's opening. Both Park and Choi have denied any wrongdoing.
Choi pleads innocence, hopes trial exonerates Park
Park's lawyer said during the trial that there was "no reason for President Park to force companies to donate money which she was unable to use for herself." Choi was seen sobbing as she answered questions. "I am a sinner for forcing former President Park… to appear in a courtroom," she said in the courtroom. Choi hoped the trial would exonerate Park.
Handcuffed Park transferred back to detention center
After the hearing, Park was again placed in handcuffs as she was transferred back to her detention center. The judge has set the next hearing for Thursday, May 25. The court has decided to hear both Park and Choi's cases together.
Corruption scandal engulfs Samsung head, government officials
The corruption scandal has engulfed several senior government officials and business leaders. Samsung's acting head Lee Jae-yong and four other executives are also on trial for allegedly giving $26 million in bribes to Park and Choi to earn government support for a controversial merger. Former health minister Moon Hyung-pyo and the National Pension Service's chief investment officer National Pension Service are also on trial.