SEOUL – A Seoul court was set to appoint a public defender to represent South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye in her corruption case after she renounced the right to counsel, in protest of what she considered unfair legal treatment.
The Seoul Central District Court ordered the appointment of a public lawyer on Thursday after Park’s entire legal team resigned and she refused to get a new lawyer.
Park criticized the court’s decision last week to extend her detention for another six months.
The former president had cited health problems and the grueling pace of the hearings (four per week) in her request to be allowed to return home until the trial is completed.
Her legal team claimed that these two factors led the former president to be absent from several hearings.
Doubts have emerged on whether a single lawyer would be able to manage the defense of the ex-president, given the large number of documents involved (around 100,000 pages).
Park, 65, was impeached and temporarily jailed in March for her purported role in a scandal involving her close friend Choi Soon-sil, the Korean “Rasputin.”
Both have been accused of extorting several millions of dollars from large South Korean firms, including Samsung, in return for official favors.
Park could face a 10-year prison sentence if found guilty.