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China official’s wife doesn’t deny killing Briton

Gu Kailai » No verdict or sentence was immediately announced, but death sentence is possible.



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In Gu’s trial, Tang said material evidence, written evidence, witness statements and other materials were presented.

He said Gu’s government-appointed attorney told the court that Heywood bore some responsibility for the crime, although he did not say why. The lawyer also said Gu had "less than normal" control of her actions at the time of Heywood’s death, and that she had informed on the crimes of others. Tang did not say what those crimes were or how she might have been impaired.

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Zhang’s lawyer asked for leniency, arguing he was only an accomplice, according to Tang, who said the court would study the evidence and the arguments and make a judgment at a date to be announced later.

On Friday, four former police officials from Chongqing will also go on trial at the same court, charged with covering up for Gu in Heywood’s murder.

Security was tight around the courthouse, with police lines in front of each entrance and dozens of plainclothes security officers patrolling the streets of Hefei, a gritty industrial city in Anhui Province hundreds of miles from the scene of the crime. There is precedent in China for trying politicians far from their bases of influence, but distance may not have been the only factor in the choice of venue. Wang Shengjun, the head of China’s Supreme People’s Court, the country’s highest court, was once in charge of the province’s judicial system.

The scandal has drawn attention to political infighting that China prefers to keep secret and comes at a time when the government is preparing for a once-a-decade political transition — at the 18th party congress later this year, where it will install a new generation of leaders.

Bo, 64, the son of a revolutionary veteran, was once a contender for one of those top jobs. But his overt maneuvering to reach the highest echelons of the Communist Party angered some leaders, as did his bombastic campaigns to bust organized crime and promote communist culture while trampling civil liberties and reviving memories of the chaotic Cultural Revolution.

In April, Bo was stripped of his most powerful posts and Gu was named a suspect in Heywood’s murder. That was followed by her indictment late last month, which indicated that the leadership had closed ranks and reached a general agreement about the case and was ready to move forward with the trial.

Bo is in the hands of the party’s internal discipline and inspection commission, which is expected to issue a statement about his infractions. That would open the way for a court trial with charges possibly including obstructing police work and abuse of power. Thus far, Bo has been accused only of grievous but unspecified rules violations.

Wang, the police chief, is being detained for unspecified reasons,


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