Choi Jong Hoon Reads Apology Letter During Appeal Trial Over Bribery And Illegal Filming Charges

On June 18, the Seoul Central District Court held the first hearing for Choi Jong Hoon’s appeal trial on the charges of expressing an intent to bribe and violating the law on sexual violence by distributing illegal footage.

In March 2019, the police booked Choi Jong Hoon for offering 2 million won (about $1,780) to a police officer to cover up his drunk driving incident in 2016. He was also charged with sharing illegally filmed footage. In the trial earlier this year, Choi Jong Hoon admitted to all the charges of illegal filming and distribution but claimed that he had no intention of offering bribes.

Choi Jong Hoon was eventually sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for two years of probation, and 80 hours in a sexual violence rehabilitation program. He subsequently filed an appeal on his sentence.

During the appeal trial on June 18, Choi Jong Hoon read out a letter he had written. He said, “After brooding over the details of the case at the time, I regret the foolish and wrong behavior in which I engaged. I have completely lost my dream, but when I think about the crimes I committed, I think that I must certainly bear with it. I am sorry for incurring public criticism due to my disgraceful actions. I will keep this case in mind and live with a heavy heart.”

In the appeal trial, Choi Jong Hoon’s representatives argued for lenient treatment based on the fact that he had admitted his crimes in the first trial.

His lawyer stated, “About the charge of expressing intent to bribe, Choi Jong Hoon accidentally said that he would give [the officer at the scene] money, but the amount named was not large. He did not actually take any money out. After he was arrested, he did not express any intent to bribe. The police also thought this was a joke. The defendant is currently reflecting on his behavior at the time.”

About the charge of distributing illegal material, his lawyer said, “He uploaded only one photo to the group chat. We are not saying the sentence should be commuted because there were not many people with whom it was shared, but there was no specific victim and the material did not reach widespread distribution.”

The prosecution stated that it was about the nature of the crime and argued for retaining the initial sentence. The sentence will be decided during a second hearing on July 23.

This is a separate case from Choi Jong Hoon and Jung Joon Young’s ongoing appeal over their sentences for the charge of aggravated rape.

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Top Photo Credit: Xportsnews

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