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(LEAD) Lawyers defend Park's actions in 2014 ferry disaster

All Headlines 11:57 January 10, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with lawyer's defense in paras 1-4; EDITS to conform; CHANGES headline)

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye's lawyers set out to defend her actions during a 2014 ferry disaster Tuesday as the Constitutional Court opened its third hearing on her impeachment.

Park was impeached by parliament last month over a corruption scandal and allegations that she neglected her duty during the sinking that killed more than 300 people in April 2014.

"(Park) received numerous phone calls from the chief of the National Security Office and gave orders," Lee Joong-hwan, a lawyer representing Park, told reporters on the margins of the hearing.

"She took appropriate steps," he said.

The court earlier in the day opened its third formal hearing to review the legitimacy of Park's impeachment. But all three witnesses who were summoned refused to appear, citing the hearing's possible impact on their own trials.

It earlier called in three suspects involved in the political scandal leading to Park's impeachment on Dec. 9 -- Park's confidante Choi Soon-sil; An Chong-bum, a former senior presidential secretary for policy coordination; and Jeong Ho-seong, a former secretary for private presidential affairs.

hague@yna.co.kr
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