Impeached President Park Geun-hye added another lawyer to her legal team Friday in what appears to be a bid to strengthen her defense at the Constitutional Court.
Wie Jae-min, a former prosecutor, was appointed to join the team, a court official said, bringing the total number of attorneys to 14. His appointment came just three days after the addition of another former prosecutor to the team. Parliament has 16 lawyers on its impeachment panel to serve as the prosecution.
Park was impeached by parliament in December over an influence-peddling scandal centered on her friend Choi Soon-sil. The president has persistently said the charges leveled against her are false and that she will prove her innocence in court.
The court must decide by early June whether to unseat or reinstate the president. But before retiring earlier this week, Court Chief Justice Park Han-chul urged a decision by March 13 to prevent a "distorted" ruling following the retirement of another justice on the nine-member bench.
The president's lawyers strongly resisted the setting of a deadline which they countered would prevent all evidence from being examined in detail, and hinted at a collective boycott of the trial.
Park's attorneys have taken flak for trying to stall the proceedings by asking the court to summon a growing number of witnesses to testify.
If Park is removed from office, South Korea is required to hold a presidential election within 60 days, with the next president taking power after being elected. If she is reinstated, the election will be held in December as originally planned, with the new president being sworn into office in late February. (Yonhap)