Mon, Jul 30, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Judges to announce if Chen Shui-bian will be subpoenaed

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A panel of judges dealing with the embezzlement and forgery case involving first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) and President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) former and present aides said on Friday it would announce on Aug. 10 whether it will subpoena Chen to clarify key points raised by the defendants' lawyers.

The lawyers defending Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成), who is a former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general, and his successor, Lin Teh-hsun (林德訓), asked the judges to subpoena Chen during a court hearing earlier on Friday to facilitate investigations and ensure a fair trial for the defendants.

Ma and Lin are facing accusations of forgery in the "special affairs fund" case, which involves the funds set aside for the president's discretionary use.

The lawyers said Chen was the principal figure in the case, as Ma and Lin had not acted of their own free will while carrying out requests by Chen.

The lawyers said that only Chen was in a position to provide clarifications on certain conflicting points.

Chen, who enjoys constitutional immunity from prosecution, has not been indicted.

Despite this, the defense lawyers have said that the real defendant in the case is Chen, not the aides.

Noting that the Council of Grand Justices has already clearly stated in a constitutional interpretation issued on June 15 that criminal investigation, prosecution and trial of the president are illegal, the defense lawyers said it was regrettable for judges to have allowed the trial to proceed.

They also said it was unfortunate the judges had not yet responded to Chen's request for the court to return files taken from the Presidential Office.

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