Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye is due in court Tuesday to face trial over the massive corruption scandal that led to her stunning downfall.
She faces charges of bribery, extortion, abuse of power and other high-profile corruption charges that could potentially send her to jail for life.
Park was impeached in December by parliament and in March fired by the country's top court following revelations of her involvement in a massive corruption scandal centered on her friend of 40 years and bringing in some of the country's top businessmen, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong. Soon afterward, she was detained and indicted.
The trial is expected to last for months, and could shed new light on the ties between Park and the bosses of the family-run conglomerates who allegedly bribed her, among them Lee and Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin.
It comes only two weeks after the country last week elected left-leaning former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in — who lost the 2012 poll to Park — as her successor.
Tuesday’s opening session will be Park’s first public appearance since she was taken into custody in March, and hundreds of people flocked to the court to enter a lottery for seats in the public gallery. She has denied any wrongdoing.
Park, 65, is the third former South Korean leader to stand trial for corruption following Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, who served jail terms in the 1990s for charges including bribery and treason.
When she was elected in 2012 as South Korea's first female president, Park secured the highest vote share of any candidate in the country’s democratic era. But she has spent the past weeks in a small cell with a mattress, table, sink, toilet and television.