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Ignore indie counsel: Park lawyers

Mar 08,2017
Park Geun-hye’s lawyers asked the Constitutional Court judges Tuesday to ignore the conclusion of an independent counsel that she is a bribery suspect in their deliberations in the president’s impeachment trial.

“The independent counsel’s announcement of its probe outcome is not evidence lawfully selected,” a statement by Park’s lawyers said. “We submit our position to the Constitutional Court that the investigation report must not be used during the deliberations.”

The lawyers said issues investigated by the independent counsel were not discussed during the impeachment trial.

“They did not go through an evidentiary hearing, so they must not be considered,” the lawyers said.

They also argued that the independent counsel’s announcement has no official authority and is the mere opinions of the investigators announced to the public.

President Park was impeached in December for allowing a secret inner circle to influence state affairs.

She was also accused of failing to protect the lives of the citizens during the Sewol ferry’s sinking in April 2014.

The Constitutional Court held weeks of hearings in the impeachment trial with closing arguments on Feb. 27. The court said Tuesday it has yet to decide when it will announce its ruling.

Independent counsel Park Young-soo concluded last week a 90-day probe into corruption and abuse of power allegations against Park, her associates and major Korean companies.

He held a press conference Monday and announced the outcome of the investigation, identifying Park a suspect who allegedly received massive bribes from Samsung Group.

The National Assembly’s impeachment committee, which acted as the prosecution in the impeachment trial, submitted about 400 pages of documents concerning the investigation to the Constitutional Court on Monday.

The court already said it will not use the documents as evidence to judge facts. It, however, left open the possibility that the judges may refer to them.

Expectations are high that the ruling will be announced by Monday, the final day of Acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi’s tenure.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]