Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung
The Supreme Court has acquitted Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung of election law violation charges, effectively salvaging his political career.
Julie Sohn has more.
Delivering the top court's verdict, Chief Justice Kim Myeong-su said Governor Lee was not punishable for spreading false information for remarks he made during televised debates in the run-up to the 2018 local elections.
During one debate, Lee had denied allegations that he abused his power to put his older brother in a mental hospital in 2012.
The chief justice said Lee's comments, which came during fierce exchanges with political opponents, should not be seen as a deliberate and determined act to spread misinformation.
Lee, who was fined 3 million won by the Suwon High Court last September, will be able to retain his position following the ruling.
Under South Korea's election law, elected public officials lose their posts if they receive a sentence heavier than imprisonment or are fined more than 1 million won for a crime.
Lee's sentencing was televised live Thursday at 2 p.m. for the second time ever, following its first-ever live ruling in August last year on the corruption case of former President Park Geun-hye.
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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