TAIPEI–A defiant State Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming appeared in court for the first time Friday as he faced charges of leaking classified information related to an ongoing investigation.
Speaking to reporters on arriving at Taipei District Court, Huang described the trial as the most difficult moment in his 37-year career but said he would push on with strength given to him by encouraging friends and even strangers.
Quoting Byron, he said that “adversity is the first path to truth” and that he would not back down as the trial “involves not only my own integrity but the ability of the entire judicial system to resist political intervention.”
Huang was at the heart of a political storm involving the wiretapping of the Legislature and a controversy that stretches all the way up to President Ma Ying-jeou. The nation’s top prosecutor has said he would step down if found guilty by the district court.
Huang has retained two former Cabinet members as lawyers, one of whom is former Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng.
The indictment charges Huang with violating the Criminal Code and the Communication Security and Surveillance Act when he briefed the president on information gathered through a wiretap in June. Each offense carries a maximum three-year prison term.
The information he shared with Ma reportedly implicated Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng in the inappropriate lobbying of then-Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu and Chen Shou-huang, a top High Court prosecutor, to suppress a legal case against a fellow lawmaker.
Huang has argued that it was his duty to alert the president about possible wrongdoing by one of the country’s top leaders.
Wang has said his calls to Tseng and Chen were only about general legal issues and did not constitute influence peddling.
Convinced that Wang had overstepped a red line, Ma, who also chairs the ruling Kuomintang, said Wang was no longer fit to lead the Legislative Yuan. The party’s disciplinary committee subsequently revoked Wang’s membership in the party on Sept. 11 in an attempt to unseat the speaker.
Wang won a court injunction that has allowed him to retain his party membership for the time being, however.