Ex-President Lee asks for selective attendance at court hearings

SEOUL, Former President Lee Myung-bak, on trial for corruption, is asking the court to make an exception to allow him to attend hearings selectively, his lawyer said Friday.

The former president from 2008-2013 has been charged with 16 counts of corruption including bribery, abuse of power, embezzlement and leaking presidential documents.

Kang Hoon, his attorney, said Lee wishes to attend hearings when the court orders him to show up to testify or verify evidence, citing health problems.

Lee, 77, was arrested in late March and has been suffering from eating and sleeping troubles since he attended the first hearing on Wednesday, the attorney said.

By law, a criminal trial cannot proceed without the defendant's attendance, unless there are plausible reasons. There is no set legal provision that allows for selective attendance by the defendant.

His lawyer stressed that the request is not a rejection of the trial. "He intends to fight for the truth in the courtroom at any time," he said.

The lawyer said he will submit the letter explaining reasons for nonattendance to the court in the afternoon.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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