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Court opens 3rd hearing in Park's impeachment trial

All Headlines 10:35 January 10, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- The Constitutional Court on Tuesday opened its third formal hearing to review the legitimacy of President Park Geun-hye's impeachment amid keen attention on the testimony of a key former aide.

The court earlier summoned three suspects involved in the political scandal leading to Park's impeachment on Dec. 9, but only An Chong-bum, former senior presidential secretary for policy coordination, appeared set to testify. The two others -- Park's confidante Choi Soon-sil and former secretary for private presidential affairs Jeong Ho-seong -- declined the summons citing the hearing's possible impact on their own trials.

An has been accused of extorting money from conglomerates to help two culture and sports foundations controlled by Choi. He has denied the charge, saying he was following the president's orders to establish the foundations as part of her campaign pledge.

An's oral testimony is scheduled for later in the day.

Tuesday's session will also focus on whether Park failed to properly respond to a ferry sinking in April 2014, contributing to the deaths of more than 300 people. The National Assembly cited the disaster as one of the reasons for her impeachment.

Park's attorneys have submitted the details of Park's whereabouts and actions during the early hours of the sinking at the court's orders.

hague@yna.co.kr
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