TAIPEI - The wife of Taiwan's embattled leader Chen Shui-bian has gone
on trial accused of corruption and forgery in a landmark case that could end his
Taiwan's First Lady Wu Shu-chen has
gone on trial accused of corruption and forgery in a landmark case that
could end her husband's leadership. Chen Shui-bian has promised to
resign if his wife is found guilty by the court in Taipei of illegally
claiming 14.8 million Taiwan dollars (US$450,000 in personal expenses from
Chen has promised to resign if his wife Wu Shu-chen is found guilty by the
court in Taipei of illegally claiming 14.8 million Taiwan dollars (US$450,000)
in personal expenses from government funds.
Prosecutors indicted wheelchair-bound Wu, 54, and three aides last month, but
Chen escaped immediate prosecution because of "presidential immunity."
The corruption charge carries a minimum seven-year prison term and forgery at
least one year.
Chen has denied any wrongdoing and said the embezzlement
allegations were unacceptable.
Wu, the first wife of a Taiwanese leader ever to be prosecuted and in poor
health, showed up at the tightly-guarded courthouse in front of a large crowd of
reporters and cameramen.
Her indictment sent political shockwaves throughout the island and
prompted the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to suspend her membership
for 18 months.
Chen's DPP filed a petition Thursday with the "Council of Grand Justice" in a
last-ditch bid to stop the trial going ahead, but it usually takes months for
the body to make a decision.