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(LEAD) Choi appears at Park impeachment trial

All News 10:26 January 16, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 2-3; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- Choi Soon-sil, the woman accused of colluding with President Park Geun-hye for personal and business gains, appeared as a witness in the president's impeachment trial Monday.

Choi, who has been jailed in connection with the scandal, arrived at the Constitutional Court in a blue government van and was escorted inside by officers to testify at the fifth hearing of Park's trial.

She did not answer reporters' questions about whether she thinks the president should be removed from office, acknowledges taking bribes or reports she made weekly visits to the presidential office.

Choi Soon-sil, the woman at the center of a widening corruption scandal, arrives at the Constitutional Court in Seoul on Jan. 16, 2017, to testify at the fifth hearing of President Park Geun-hye's impeachment trial. (Yonhap)

Park was impeached by parliament on Dec. 9 on suspicion of colluding with her longtime friend Choi to extort money from conglomerates, but she has yet to appear at her own trial.

Choi has denied all charges against her, including abuse of power, coercion and attempted fraud.

The court has until early June to decide whether to uphold or reject the impeachment motion.


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