Confidante of ex-South Korean leader vows to appeal

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The lawyer representing the former South Korean president’s confidante has vowed to appeal after the friend was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in a wide-ranging political scandal.

Choi Soon-sil, a longtime friend of former President Park Geun-hye, was convicted Tuesday for abusing her close ties with Park to gain personal profit and for receiving bribes from Samsung, Lotte and other big South Korean businesses.

Lee Kyung-jae, who represents Choi, said he was confident his team can overturn the charges on appeal.

After the sentencing was announced, Choi left the courtroom quietly without showing emotion, according to media pool reports.