Former Aids to President Park Receives Prison Sentences for Managing “Cultural Blacklist”

It will be interesting to see if any of these ex-aids of President Park were flipped to give evidence against her?  These sentences makes me think that if the prosecutors cannot get President Park on the Samsung corruption charges then maybe they will convict her for knowing about this “cultural blacklist” her aides were running:

This combined photo shows former chief of staff Kim Ki-choon (L) and ex-Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun entering the Seoul Central District Court in southern Seoul on July 27, 2017, to hear their sentencing. (Yonhap)

A former top aide of ousted president Park Geun-hye was sentenced to three years in jail on Thursday for running a list of culture figures critical of the government that barred them from state support.

The Seoul Central District Court doled out the sentence to former presidential chief of staff Kim Ki-choon after finding him guilty of abuse of power and perjury.

But Cho Yoon-sun, who served as the culture minister under the Park administration, was acquitted of her charges related to the so-called cultural blacklist and was released from prison after the court gave her a one-year jail term suspended for two years. The court found her guilty only of lying before the parliament at a hearing on the blacklist scandal last year.

The special counsel team investigating the case demanded seven years in prison for Kim and six years for Cho in the final hearing on July 3.

Kim’s lawyers immediately vowed to appeal the ruling, calling it “unjust.”

The court also sentenced five other former ranking government officials to 18 months to two years in jail, with some on probation, for their involvement in creating and managing the blacklist.

Former culture minister Kim Jong-deok was sentenced to two years in prison, while former presidential education and culture senior secretary Kim Sang-ryul was handed an 18-month imprisonment. Former presidential culture and sports secretary Kim So-young was given 18 months in jail, suspended for two years.

Former vice culture minister Chung Kwan-joo and ex-presidential aide Shin Dong-churl were sentenced to one year and a half in jail each.

The artist blacklist is part of a massive corruption scandal that removed Park from office in March. Kim and Cho were indicted in February for masterminding the creation of a register of nearly 10,000 artists, writers and filmmakers deemed unfriendly to the conservative administration. Those on the list were denied state subsidies. The accused have maintained their innocence.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

North Korea Demands that South Korea Hand Over Former President Park for Execution

Here is the latest outrageous demand from North Korea:

This graphic shows, from left, former NIS chief Lee Byung-ho, former South Korean President Park Geun-hye and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Yonhap)

North Korea on Wednesday warned of capital punishment against a former South Korean president and former spy chief for their alleged plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The angry statement came after a Japanese media report that former South Korean President Park Geun-hye had instructed former National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Lee Byung-ho to oust Kim by any means — including assassination.

The latest claim came amid lingering tensions on the Korean peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

“Former President Park Geun-hye and former spy chief Lee Byung-ho as well as NIS agents can never make any appeal even though they meet miserable dog’s death any time, at any place and by whatever methods from this moment,” the North Korea Ministry of State Security said in an English-language statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The statement demanded South Korea immediately hand over Park and Lee to North Korea, claiming they committed what it claims is hideous state-sponsored terrorism against the North’s supreme leadership.

North Korea also warned it will impose summary punishment without advance notice on those who organized, took part in or pursued the plot in case the U.S. and South Korea again try to stage a terrorist attack against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I hope President Park has good security around her because of how unpopular she is in South Korea you never know if the Kim regime may think they could get away with an attack on her.

Seoul Court Denies Prosecutors Request to Arrest Chung Yoo-ra

Like I have been saying all along, I saw no evidence that Chung Yoo-ra did anything illegal.  It appeared from the start that the attempts to arrest her were to put pressure on her mom, Choi Soon-sil to cooperate on implicating former President Park in her allegedly corrupt dealings.  With Park currently behind bars and standing trial right now, there is less urgency to use Chung to pressure her mom:

Chung Yoo-ra brought to the district prosecutors office in Seoul. [Chosun Ilbo]

A Seoul court on Saturday rejected a prosecution request for the arrest of a daughter of ousted President Park Geun-hye’s friend at the center of a massive corruption scandal that removed the former leader.

Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of Park’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, was freed after the court dismissed the prosecution request for her arrest.  [Yonhap]

Park Geun-hye’s Lawyer States Prosecution Mostly Using News Articles as Evidence

I am not a lawyer so I am wondering if anyone who is a lawyer knows if news media articles can be considered evidence in a US court?  If so how strong of evidence would that be?:

Former President Park Geun-hye attended her first court hearing over the corruption scandal that removed her from office and denied all charges against her, Tuesday.

This is the first time in 53 days that she has made a public appearance since she was arrested, March 31.

Handcuffed and with her trademark hairstyle, Park arrived at the Seoul Central District Court before entering the courtroom at 10 a.m.

Park and her confidant of 40 years Choi Soon-sil saw each other for the first time in eight months since Choi left for Germany last September after the corruption scandal broke out.

Park entered the courtroom first and sat looking straight ahead not turning her head even the slightest, while Choi entered the courtroom and sat two seats away from her, next to her attorney Lee Kyung-jae.

When asked by presiding Judge Kim Se-yun, on her current occupation, Park said, “I don’t have an occupation.”

When offered a chance to speak, Choi whimpered and said, “I am a sinner for having Park whom I’ve been close to for more than 40 years stand trial.”

“I do not believe Park was involved in any criminal activities, bribery or otherwise. I think the prosecution is pushing this too far, and I wish the court would clear her of the suspected wrongdoings thereby letting her remain as the president who devoted her life to the country.”

Choi blamed her former associate Park Won-oh, a former head of the Korea Equestrian Federation, over allegations that Samsung offered financial support for her daughter, the former dressage competitor Chung Yoo-ra.

“My daughter already had her own horse when she was in Germany. Then Park asked Samsung for support and Samsung bought a horse and a car. I can take responsibility for that, but not the charges by the prosecution that the support for my daughter was in return for the government-backed merger of Samsung’s two units,” she said.

Park’s defense attorney Yoo Young-ha said the charges against her lacked foundation and largely relied on imagination, inference and media reports.

“Most of the evidence submitted by the prosecution is news articles. The prosecution determined news reports valid as evidence in a criminal case,” he said.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Choi Soon-sil and Park Guen-hye To Stand Trial Together

It will be interesting to see how this trial turns out that begins on May 23rd with both former President Park and her alleged partner in corruption Choi Soon-sil standing trial together:

Choi Soon-sil

The charges mostly center on an extortion racket Park and Choi allegedly ran out of Cheong Wa Dae by using two dubious nonprofits Choi set up and staffed with her drinking buddies.

The trial proper starts on May 23 and will bring the two women together for the first time since their schemes started to unravel last autumn and Choi fled abroad. The court rejected a request by Choi to be tried separately.

Choi’s lawyer Lee Kyung-jae, in a typically florid submission, said his client feels “unbearable shame” at having to stand trial next to Park, whom she respected for many years. Lee added the prospect is tantamount to the pain of “gouging out her own eyes.” [Chosun Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Former President Park Geun-hye Indicted for Corruption

According to the article Park is accused of taking and soliciting bribes.  Have the prosecutors finally found hard evidence that she actually took money because we have not seen it yet?:

Former President Park Geun-hye arrives at a detention center in Uiwang, south of Seoul, in a car on March 31, 2017, after a court issued a warrant to arrest her in connection with a corruption scandal that led to her removal from office. (Yonhap)

South Korean prosecutors indicted jailed former President Park Geun-hye Monday as they wrapped up a six-month probe into the corruption and influence-peddling scandal that brought her down last month.

Park has been charged with bribery, abuse of power, coercion and leaking government secrets in 18 suspected crimes, mostly involving her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil and former key aides.

Park became the country’s third former president to stand trial over corruption allegations, after Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo.

In the indictment, the prosecutors accused Park of taking and soliciting bribes worth 59.2 billion won ($52 million) from three conglomerates — Samsung, Lotte and SK — for herself or her friend.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but Park is facing 10 years in jail if convicted.

Picture of the Day: North Korea Reports on Park Geun-hye’s Arrest

N.K. media reports Park's arrest

A North Korean TV announcer reports on the arrest of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye on March 31, 2017. Most of the North’s state-run media outlets reported the news about 13 hours after Park’s arrest, calling it a stern punishment by history and popular sentiment. (KCNA-Yonhap)

Former President Park Arrested and Held in Detention Center

Once Park Geun-hye was impeached it was only a matter of time before this happened:

Former President Park Geun-hye leaves the Seoul Central District Court in the capital on March 30, 2017, after a hearing on a warrant to arrest her. The court issued the warrant the next day, citing the necessity and the graveness of the alleged crimes. (Yonhap)

Former President Park Geun-hye was arrested on Friday in connection with a corruption scandal that led to her removal from office.

The Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant to detain Park on charges of bribery, abuse of authority, coercion and leaking government secrets, after a marathon hearing the previous day.

“The need for her arrest is acknowledged because there is probable cause to charge her and a concern of evidence being destroyed,” Judge Kang Boo-young said.

Park, ousted in a historic ruling on March 10, became the country’s third former president to be arrested over criminal allegations, following Roh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan.

Following the decision, Park was transferred to a detention center south of Seoul from the prosecution’s office where she had been waiting for the result after the nearly nine-hour court hearing.

The detention center is where key figures embroiled in the scandal, including Park’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil and Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong, are held in custody.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.