Ex-President Park Geun-hye did not show up in court for her corruption trial on Monday citing a stubbed toe. Park's lawyers said she is suffering "persistent pain" in her foot after she hurt it in prison last week. She is also experiencing "mounting fatigue after attending four court sessions a week," the lawyers claimed.
Officials in the remand prison where Park is being held said she stubbed her toe on the door sill of her jail cell but the injury is not serious and she is "personally applying ointment" given by prison doctors.
Her lawyers have repeatedly argued that the four scheduled sessions a week place an unacceptable burden on the ex-president citing unspecified health problems.
She is expected to return to court on Tuesday.
Park was expected to come face to face with de facto Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong in court Monday, who appeared as a witness against her. Lee is separately on trial for bribing her and her confidante Choi Soon-sil to the tune of W43.3 billion (US$1=W1,152).
Park and Choi are also accused of extorting billions more from Samsung and other conglomerates in the form of donations to two dodgy non-profits Choi controlled.
But Lee declined to testify. In a submission, he argued that any testimony could be prejudicial to his own trial, and the presiding judge accepted the argument.
At issue was a closed-door meeting with Park in February 2016, where she is suspected of promising to ease the transfer of management control of the conglomerate to Lee by way of a merger between two subsidiaries, in return for hefty donations to Choi's foundations.
Lee refused to answer about a dozen questions before the session came to an end after just 16 minutes. "It is my desire to diligently offer my testimony to establish the truth, but at the advice of my lawyers I will not be able to do that," Lee said. "I sincerely apologize for being unable to help."
Other senior Samsung executives who have been indicted along with Lee have also declined to testify.
Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong appears at the Seoul Central District Court on Monday. /Newsis