A reasonable request
On Thursday, the court rejected another plea from prosecutors to raid the office of President Park Geun-hye for evidence in its investigation of the abuse of power and bribery case involving her secretive confidante Choi Soon-sil.
The special prosecutor team requested the raid, arguing that Park had used a burner phone to talk to Choi 570 times over 192 days from April to October. But the court dismissed the claim, saying the special prosecutors lacked legal validity to raid the presidential office. It is now up to the president to voluntarily comply with questioning and hand over materials.
Prosecutors found that Park and Choi were close enough to talk on the phone at least twice a day. They communicated 127 times while Choi was in Germany, where she had fled after revelations of her influence in the presidential office surfaced in early September.
The conversations most certainly weren’t small talk. Choi was essentially on the run as allegations surfaced that she used two nonprofit foundations to take money from conglomerates in exchange for political favors.
Park will not be able to get away this time with claims that Choi was just someone who “ran errands” for her and that she was unaware of her “selfish interests.” The president did keep her word on responding earnestly to the state prosecution’s investigation in November. Now, she is refusing cooperation with the special prosecution team, too.
Park had promised she would fully cooperate special prosecutors during an interview on Jan. 25. But she has not complied with any of their requests and resisted questioning. This will only invite more suspicion.
The political scandal and Park’s impeachment trial have rocked the country and disgraced its dignity. The trial’s closing arguments are scheduled for Feb. 24, and the legal probe period for the special prosecution team ends on Feb. 28. There is not much time left. The president should do her duty and tell the truth while there is still time.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 17, Page 30