In 2018, Goo Hara and Choi Jong Bum got into a physical altercation on September 13 around 1 a.m. Choi Jong Bum initially reported to the police that Goo Hara had assaulted him, but Goo Hara countered with claims that Choi Jong Bum had blackmailed her with a sex tape. Eventually both were forwarded to the prosecution on separate charges, but Goo Hara received a suspension of indictment while Choi Jong Bum’s case went to trial.
In 2019, Choi Jong Bum was charged by prosecutors with violating the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Sexual Crimes (filming body parts without consent), assault causing bodily harm, intimidation (blackmail), coercion, and destruction and damage of property. In his first trial last August, he received a prison sentence of one year and six months, suspended for three years of probation, which both he and the prosecution filed an appeal for.
His appeal trial was held on May 21 where he pled guilty to all charges except the one regarding nonconsensual filming. The courts laid down their verdict on July 2. The suspension from Choi Jong Bum’s first trial was rescinded and he was sentenced to one year in prison. He was placed under court custody as the courts believed he is a flight risk.
In the verdict, the judge stated, “Sexual intercourse is one of the most intimate aspects of a person’s privacy, and to threaten to expose a video filming this can not only cause irreparable psychological damages to the victim, but it can also severely damage their honor.” They added, “Not only this, but the defendant made the threat to publicly expose the video abusing the fact that such a video would result in even more serious damages as the victim was a celebrity.”
However, the courts also maintained their previous verdict of finding Choi Jong Bum not guilty of filming the victim’s body without consent. It was explained, “Based on the evidence that was submitted by the prosecution, it is still difficult to say beyond a reasonable doubt that filming took place without consent.”
Following the trial, Choi Jong Bum was asked by the courts if he had anything to say regarding the verdict, and he replied, “Not at this time.”
Goo Hara’s brother was in attendance for the verdict and met with reporters afterwards. He stated, “I see the fact that he was given a prison sentence with no suspension in the appeal as a small source of comfort for our family that will help alleviate our pain. However, we regret that he was not found guilty of filming without consent and that he was only sentenced to one year.”
He also stated, “When my sister was alive, she saw him given a prison sentence with suspension, but I think she’d be content knowing he had that suspension revoked today.” He concluded by stating that he will be requesting prosecutors to pursue a final appeal to increase the prison sentence that Choi Jong Bum has been given.
sources: soompi, naver