Actress Kim Bu-seon’s defamation suit against Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, who denies her claims that they had an extramarital affair, hit a snag Wednesday when her lawyer was jailed.
Former lawmaker and lawyer Kang Yong-seok was sentenced to a year in prison for forging documents concerning an alleged extramarital affair between Kang and luxury products blogger Kim Mi-na.
Kang immediately filed for appeal. Should his prison sentence be upheld in a higher court, Kang will not be able to practice the law for five years.
The blogger’s husband filed a lawsuit against Kang in January 2015, seeking damages of 100 million won and accusing Kang of having an affair with his wife, known by her online alias “Dodo mom.”
Three months later, Kang was indicted on charges of colluding with Kim Mi-na to falsify documents, allegedly using her husband’s seal and submitting a paper in the husband’s name dropping the case.
Behind bars, Kang is allowed to have only limited meetings with his clients.
“It would be difficult for Kang to keep defending Kim, unless he is released on bail. He will probably resign as her lawyer, and refer her to another lawyer,” an official at the Gyeonggi Central Bar Association said.
Kim Bu-seon had presented herself to the police without a lawyer for some time, but later appointed Kang as her lawyer.
Kang, who was also a popular television personality, was booted from television over the allegations of extramarital affairs, but came back into the media spotlight when he took the actress’s case.
Kang appeared at the Bundang Police Station with Kim and said in front of television cameras that he would “bring Lee Jae-myung to justice.”
Kang filed suit against Lee with the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office, alleging that Lee had violated the election law and alleging defamation under the law on information and telecommunication networks.
He also filed a defamation suit against Lee with the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors’ Office, seeking damages of 300 million won.
Kim Bu-seon said she had hired Kang only because she wanted to win the case, not for political reasons.
“Kang is the best humanist among the lawyers I’ve met,” she said.
Kang has been beset by scandals ever since a local newspaper reported insulting remarks he had made about television presenters in 2010, when he was a Grand National Party lawmaker.
A group of television presenters sued Kang for “contempt” over the remarks, and the Grand National Party (now the Liberty Korea Party) expelled him.
In a remanded case, the court ruled him not guilty of contempt, but guilty of false accusation.
In 2011, Kang sued key opposition politicians, including then Seoul mayoral candidate Park Won-soon, accusing Park of lying about his academic records, and accusing then presidential hopeful Ahn Cheol-soo of bagging some 70 billion won by acquiring bonds for AhnLab, a software company that Ahn founded, and selling them at much higher prices over the counter.
Kang also sued a comedian for contempt for insulting lawmakers on a television show to “show the world the absurdity” of the television presenters’ class-action suit against him. After the class-action suit was dismissed by the court, Kang dropped his case against the comedian and apologized, stoking criticism.
Kang went on to sue some young, up-and-coming politicians. He resigned as a lawmaker in early 2012 when his allegation that Park Won-soon’s son had sought to dodge military duty turned out to be false.
Starting in early 2012, Kang appeared in a number of television shows, mostly on politically conservative cable channels, and lived the life of a television celebrity until the extramarital affair scandal broke in early 2015.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org