Choi Soon Sil's Alleged Lover May Prove President Park's Innocence

Hana Lee , Feb. 14, 2017, 9:28 a.m.

President Park Geun-hye's lawyers have decided to build their defense on a massive cache of audio recordings of Koh Young-tae, the one-time sidekick of her confidante Choi Soon-sil.

Koh turned whistleblower after a tiff between the alleged lovers and has been liberally supplying insights into the vaudeville that was Park-era Cheong Wa Dae.

Park's lawyers have submitted around 2,000 audio recordings and 29 transcripts of Koh's phone conversations to the Constitutional Court. "It will take us at least five days just to analyze the recordings," one member of the team told the Chosun Ilbo.

He said he wants to play a key part of the recordings in the impeachment trial and also opened the possibility of summoning witnesses whose voices are heard in the phone calls.

The lawyers hope that the files will support their contention that Park was an innocent victim of a stitch-up and had no knowledge of Choi's shenanigans. They contend that the recordings show Koh plotting to take over two dodgy non-profits Choi ran under the Cheong Wa Dae aegis and her other dubious business interests.

In one quote released to the press, Koh is heard to say, "If we plan this well and let it blow up, this will all be ours."

Koh, a former fencer and part-time gigolo, later branched out into apparel design and, as an employee of one of Choi's companies, supplied outfits Park wore on overseas trips. The recordings, if accepted in evidence, could also drag out the impeachment trial for much longer than hoped, which fits in with Park's overall tactics so far.

The National Assembly panel acting as the prosecution said about a dozen out of 2,000 recordings can be considered, but most are mere personal chit-chat and have no bearing on Park's impeachment.

The Constitutional Court has told both the defense and prosecution to submit final arguments by Feb. 23.

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