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Trial for Roh’s Ex-Pres. Secretary Postponed

Posted June. 05, 2009 08:06,   


The first trial of former presidential secretary for general affairs Jung Sang-moon opened yesterday but ended after just 20 minutes after he complained of mental duress.

Jung was indicted for taking bribes of 400 million won (321,290 U.S. dollars) and embezzling 1.25 billion won (1 million dollars) from the presidential office. He was a long-time confidant of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun.

Jung slowly and erratically walked into the court room of the Seoul Central District Court. In a green prisoner uniform, he sat on the defendant’s seat with an agitated look and failed to give proper answers to judges’ questions.

When asked where his hometown was, he said, “I cannot remember,” and shook his head.

His attorney said, “Jung cannot organize his thoughts well and is unstable probably because of psychological stress after returning from former President Roh’s funeral.”

The attorney asked for a two-week recess in the trial, saying, “Jung made confusing comments in questioning by prosecutors. He needs time to organize his thoughts.”

When a judge asked, “Do you agree with your lawyer,” Jung hesitated a bit before responding, “It’s puzzling and confusing.”

The judge tried to be sympathetic but expressed his regret about the delay, saying, “Death is death and a trial is a trial.” He ended the trial session and granted the delay request.

Prosecutors also demanded a prison sentence of four years and 800 million won (642,500 dollars) in fines for former Deputy Minister for Government Affairs and Home Administration Jang In-tae. He was indicted for receiving illegal political funds from Taekwang Industry CEO Park Yeon-cha in the 2004 by-election for South Gyeongsang Province governor.

Jang has admitted to most of the charges and his trial will open June 19.