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Taiwan first lady fails to attend embezzlement trial

Taiwan first lady fails to attend embezzlement trial

Taiwan's first lady failed to attend another session of her embezzlement trial Friday as some 800 prosecutors signed a letter urging President Chen Shui-bian's party not to seek to influence the verdict.
The petition followed weeks of relentless attack against a prominent prosecutor by ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers in what the opposition says is an effort to intimidate him and keep the prosecution from pressing for a guilty verdict.
Wu Shu-chen, who fainted during the opening session of her trial on Dec. 15 and failed to attend the second session last week, again asked for leave of absence through her attorneys. Doctors attributed her fainting to low blood pressure. They warned it could drop further, raising the risk to her overall health.
Wu was paralyzed from the waist down when a truck ran her over in 1985. Chen called the incident an assassination attempt and blamed the then-dominant Nationalist Party for carrying it out _ a charge the party denies.
The opposition has accused the DPP of using Wu's sick leave to stall the trial and help Chen serve out the remaining 17 months of his term. He has pledged to leave office if Wu is convicted.
Since the trial began, DPP lawmakers have accused chief prosecutor Chang Hsi-huai of bias against Chen and urged Chang to drop out of the case. Chang has rejected the demand.
"Politicians shouldn't seek to politicize a judiciary case but rather leave room for independent, objective trials," said Lin Chin-chun, spokesman of the Taipei Prosecutors Office. Lin was among the 800 prosecutors signing the prosecutors' open letter.
Wu has pleaded not guilty to charges that she and three of Chen's aides skimmed 14.8 million New Taiwan dollars (US$450,000;


Updated : 2021-05-11 07:10 GMT+08:00