Seoul mayor’s phone submitted for mobile device forensics

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Nov. 10 (UPI) — South Korean prosecutors have begun recovering digital evidence from the mobile phone found on former Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who was found dead in July by police.

Park, who had been accused of sexually harassing a female employee at city hall for at least four years, left behind three mobile phones, but the evidence was off-limits to investigators for months, the JoongAng Ilbo reported.

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The Seoul Northern District Prosecutors’ Office’s second criminal division said Tuesday prosecutors obtained a search-and-seizure warrant for Park’s phone in October. Forensics on the phone have begun, and the probe so far shows the police, the presidential Blue House and the Seoul Prosecutors’ Office were not involved in “leaking,” or apprising Park of harassment complaints, according to Seoul Shinmun.

“We are continuously investigating in accordance with laws and principles to reveal the truth,” the prosecution said, according to JoongAng. “We have not drawn any conclusions.”

Following Park’s death on July 9, civic groups and lawyers accused the police, the presidential Blue House and the Seoul Prosecutors’ Office of leaking the complaint to Park, or issuing an advance warning.

The mobile phone that was found on Park in July was sealed and inaccessible after an initial investigation in July. According to South Korean law, the defendant’s death renders any alleged complaints null and void, and prosecutors must give up the case. Prosecutors have been able to circumvent those restrictions, however, by citing the sexual harassment charges and a court has approved a “quasi-appeal” from investigators for forensics to go ahead, according to the JoongAng.

The phone is being revisited after investigators were initially able to unlock the device on July 22, according to Yonhap.

In July, Kim Jae-ryun, the plaintiff’s legal counsel, said her client was the target of harassing messages and unwanted sexual advances at the mayor’s office.