Top court partially strikes down guilty verdict for ex-defense minister in political meddling case

SEOUL– The Supreme Court on Thursday partially struck down a guilty verdict for former Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, accused of political meddling around the elections of 2012.

Kim, who served as a defense minister from 2010 to 2014, had been sentenced to two years and four months in prison on charges of ordering the military cyber command to post online comments in favor of the then conservative government around the general and presidential elections in 2012.

Kim had also been convicted of abusing his authority by ordering background checks when hiring civilian employees for a position in which they would post online comments in an aim to find out whether they were pro-government.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court partially struck down the verdict and sent the case back to the Seoul High Court.

The top court upheld lower courts’ guilty verdict for the political meddling charge but partially acquitted him on the charge of wrongful exercise of authority.

Kim, who served in two successive conservative administrations under Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye, was indicted in 2018 following the election of the previous liberal government of President Moon Jae-in.

He was accused of collaborating with other senior officials to instruct the cyber command to post some 9,000 online comments favorable to the then government and critical of the then opposition party.

In the same ruling, the Supreme Court finalized verdicts handed down to Lim Kwan-bin, a former policy planning chief at the ministry; and Kim Tae-hyo, a former senior presidential secretary for external affairs and strategies, convicted of the same charge.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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