Thu, Nov 09, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen's lawyer uncertain about representing first lady

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The first family's legal counsel said yesterday that a court battle over the "state affairs fund" controversy will not be difficult but that the political wrangling over the issue will be.

Ku Li-hsiung (顧立雄), who has provided counsel for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and his family members in several cases, acknowledged that he would face "great pressure" if he decides to serve as the lawyer for first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍).

Wu and three of Chen's close aides stand accused of embezzlement, forgery and perjury in connection with alleged illegal use of the president's "state affairs fund."

Chen pledged on Sunday to step down if his wife is found guilty in the first trial.

Ku, who has not yet accepted the president's request to represent the first family, said both the defense attorney and the presiding judge will be under great pressure when the trial begins.

"This is because the prosecution has concluded that the president and his wife were both perpetrators suspected of corruption and forgery," Ku said.

He noted that the indictment has triggered political upheaval that must not be ignored.

Ku has fought for Chen in lawsuits filed by former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) after they lost elections to the president and in Chen's suit against former minister of the environment and New Party founder Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康). Jaw sued Chen in 2004, claiming that he had slandered him in the recitation of a classical poem.

Ku is now defending Chen's son-in-law Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘) on charges of insider trading.

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