Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (
Lee's comments came a day after he told at a legislative hearing that he had been approached by two pan-blue military personnel after the 2004 election, and that they had asked him to step aside as the then chief of general staff so that they could organize a coup against President Chen Shui-bian (
Lee refused to identify the two personnel to lawmakers yesterday.
On Monday, a second hearing began at the Taiwan High Court in a suit filed by former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), claiming that Chen defamed them by asserting that there had been an attempted "soft" coup d'etat following Lien and Soong's defeat in the 2004 presidential election.
At Monday's hearing, Chen's lawyer showed the judge classified documents that he claimed proved the coup attempt.
Lee yesterday told a defense committee meeting in the legislature that the classified document was his written testimony to the court, and that he would like to reveal the whole matter to the judges hearing the suit.
Lee's recent remarks drew harsh criticism from pan-blue lawmakers.
"You are very stupid to get yourself drawn into the political storm," KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (
"Because you refused to name the generals who approached you and asked you to feign sickness and step aside, everyone keeps guessing, and that has hurt the reputations of innocent generals," Lin said.
Chen lost a first trial to Lien and Soong when the Taipei District Court ruled that Chen had not provided sufficient evidence to back up his allegations of a "soft coup" attempt.
Lee's testimony was new evidence introduced in the second trial.
The Chinese-language newspaper the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) first reported that the classified documents said an "incumbent military adviser to the Presidential Office" and a former chief of the general staff had talked to Lee Jye and asked him to step aside on March 24, 2004.
A number of legislators wanted to know yesterday whether the two personnel were former chief of the general staff Lo Pen-li (
But Lee repeatedly answered, "I cannot identify them."
Lo and Tsao have not commented on the "soft coup" allegations. DPP Legislator Lee Wen-chung (
Meanwhile, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (
"If Lee Jye had given evidence on the coup allegations [before], the president might have won the first trial. Why didn't Lee do that? Did the Presidential Office ask him to offer testimony after losing the first trial, in exchange for him [keeping] his position as minister?" Lee Ching-hua asked Cho during a committee meeting yesterday.
Cho rejected the remarks, saying they made false inferences and were unfair to Lee Jye.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan
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