Choi Soon-sil has Nothing More to Say...

Choi Soon-sil has Nothing More to Say...

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye's confidante, who is at the center of an influence-peddling scandal, on Tuesday rejected a court summons to a hearing this week, the last round of witness testimonies in the president's impeachment trial.

   Choi Soon-sil, Park's friend of 40 years, submitted the statement to the Constitutional Court, according to a court official.

   "Choi will not attend the questioning on Wednesday, as she has nothing more to say after providing much testimony during the earlier session," the official quoted the statement as saying.'

Choi, who is detained pending trial on charges of abuse of power, extortion and attempted fraud, testified during a hearing last month.

   But Park's lawyers requested a summons for her again, citing a need to ask more questions. Critics have accused the lawyers of stalling the proceedings by repeatedly calling witnesses to the trial.

   The court is expected to hear the last witness testimony on Wednesday, which will be given by Ahn Jong-beom, a former senior presidential secretary for policy coordination.

   Unless Park decides to appear, the court will hear the closing arguments of her lawyers and the National Assembly impeachment panel on Friday. From then on, it is expected to take two weeks before the court delivers a verdict.

   If Park is permanently ousted, South Korea is required to hold a presidential election within 60 days. If she is reinstated, an election will be held in December as scheduled.

   Park faces charges of letting Choi meddle in state affairs without holding any position in the government. She was also impeached for allegedly colluding with Choi to extort money from Samsung and other conglomerates.

   Both Park and Choi have vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
 

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