Fri, Dec 22, 2006 - Page 1 News List

First lady granted leave from trial on health grounds

By Angelica Oung, Ko Shu-ling and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

First lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) will not appear in court today, after her lawyer filed for a leave of absence, citing health reasons, the Presidential Office said yesterday.

The Taipei District Court granted her request late last night.

Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee (李南陽) said Wu's defense team filed a request with the Taipei District Court yesterday afternoon, asking for a leave of absence because of poor health.

The request was made in accordance with a recommendation made by staff at National Taiwan University Hospital, Lee said.

Wu checked into the hospital last Friday, when she nearly collapsed during the first session of her trial.

Wu was indicted on corruption and forgery charges in connection with alleged misuse of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) "state affairs fund."

The hospital wrote a report on Wu's condition and sent a copy to the Presidential Office.

Lee said the office received the report yesterday afternoon.

HOSPITAL'S REQUEST

Lin He-hsiung (林鶴雄), a hospital spokesman, said yesterday that doctors recommended Wu remain hospitalized for now.

"We suggest continued hospitalization because of her condition, but in the end it is the court's decision," Lin said.

Lin said Wu's doctors had outlined her current condition in their diagnosis, and that it was up to the courts to decide whether or not she must appear at her trial in person today.

Wu's blood pressure tends to drop when she has been sitting for a long time or when she has been too active, Lin said.

This sometimes resulted in a sudden loss of consciousness, Lin added.

NO ORGAN FAILURE

Lin told the press that Wu's spinal injuries were a factor in her postural hypertension condition. Wu was suffering from low blood pressure, Lin said, but he denied rumors that Wu was suffering from multiple organ failure.

"Those reports are untrue," he said.

The Taipei District Court confirmed yesterday that it had received Wu's request and the medical report at 5:30pm.

The court later announced that it had approved her request.

Earlier yesterday, Liu Shou-sung (劉壽嵩), a spokesman for the Taipei District Court, said Wu had the right to ask for an absence from the trial.

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