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Court starts hearing case legislative speaker vs. KMT
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-04 02:52 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taipei District Court on Wednesday held the first hearing in the case brought by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng to confirm his membership of the Kuomintang.

He did not appear in court but went to the Legislative Yuan to work as usual, telling reporters he was not nervous at all.

The KMT announced on September 11 that it was revoking Wang’s membership because of prosecutors’ allegations that he had illegally lobbied the Ministry of Justice in favor of top opposition lawmaker Ker Chien-ming.

Wang filed an injunction which won the approval of two courts, allowing him to remain a party member and hold on to his position at the Legislative Yuan until a verdict is reached in the court case opening Wednesday.

Describing himself as a faithful KMT member, Wang, 72, said that if the party solved his membership problem internally, he could stop legal proceedings at any time.

His attorney Hsu Ying-chieh told the Taipei District Court Wednesday that the KMT decision to revoke the speaker’s membership was illegal and went beyond the party’s authority.

The three KMT attorneys repeated prosecutors’ allegations that Wang abused his power and should not have lobbied with the MOJ to refrain from filing an appeal against a not-guilty verdict for Ker in an embezzlement case. Wang denied having done so, saying he only discussed appeals in general in a phone call to then-Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu, who resigned when the case broke in early September.

The KMT attorneys said the party was completely justified in taking disciplinary action against Wang, including the revocation of his membership. His behavior merited the punitive measures, which were the normal privilege a political party could use against its members, the attorneys said. They rejected their counterpart’s argument that the KMT should have called a special members convention to decide on the speaker’s fate.

Judges said future hearings in the case would focus on the legality of the KMT Discipline Committee’s September 11 decision.

The announcement of the influence-peddling allegations against Wang on September 6 touched off a full-scale internal struggle within the KMT between its chairman, President Ma Ying-jeou, and the speaker. The case also resulted in indictments against Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming for leaking details about the case to Ma before the investigation had been allegedly wrapped up and in allegations that prosecutors put illegal wiretaps on the Legislative Yuan.

Prosecutors said they didn’t refrain from appealing Ker’s verdict not because of Wang’s phone call but because of the merits of the case.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party chief whip presented himself to the Legislative Yuan Discipline Committee, but it decided not to take action against him.

Huang faced questioning by prosecutors, the Control Yuan and an investigative committee to explain his actions. He repeatedly said the results of the investigation into Wang were already obvious by the time he phoned the president on August 31 to ask for a meeting. Critics say the investigation was not completed until September 5, which could make Huang guilty of leaking confidential information about a case.

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