On February 7, legal representatives of Mnet's Ahn Joon Young PD, Kim Yong Bum CP, etc attended a follow up hearing at Seoul's central district court office, in regard to the ongoing case surrounding the illegal manipulation of the 'Produce' series.
On this day, Ahn PD and Kim CP's legal representative claimed, "During the' Produce' series, the defendant confirmed both by direct and indirect means that some of the high ranking trainees did not wish to be included in the debut team; while debating on this matter, the defendant chose to omit this particular trainee from the top ranks, instead raising up the ranks of others behind them. The ranks were not manipulated solely for personal benefit or greed. The manipulation of the rankings also have no relation to the illegal bribery charges which the defendant currently also faces."
Ahn PD's legal representative then went on to deny the PD's charges of accepting illegal bribery from various companies. "It's true that the defendant violated laws which prevent citizens from accepting overly costly food or beverages paid for by others. He did accept food and alcohol paid for by others, but it was not an acceptance of bribery," the lawyer reasoned. Another legal representative speaking on behalf of a former entertainment company employee also stated that these alcohol gatherings were only for becoming acquainted, not for bribery.
However, the prosecution's side claimed that the defendants' arguments regarding the bribery charges required more definitive evidence. Regarding the manipulation of the trainees' rankings, the prosecution said, "The defendant argued that the rankings were manipulated for pure reasons, such as aiding more talented trainees in debuting, but when considering the amount of business profits that CJ ENM acquires through the series, we cannot accept that the manipulations were carried out only through honest intentions."
Another court hearing is expected to take place next month in March.