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Choi appears at first preparatory hearing


12-19-2016 14:21 BJT

Choi Soon-sil, the longtime friend and confidante of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, has appeared at the first court hearing of her trial.

Choi is at the center of an influence-peddling scandal which has led up to the president's impeachment.

The hearing at the Seoul Central District Court will review the charges against Choi, who prosecutors say manipulated state affairs and extorted businesses.

The trial is open to the public, and the court last week raffled admission tickets due to worries of a crush of spectators.

Choi's last public appearance was on October 31st, telling reporters at the Seoul prosecutors' office that she had "committed a sin that deserves death."

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