BY Julie Jones | Nov 25, 2014 09:45 AM EST
Lee Byung Hun appeared in court on Nov. 24 to provide testimony in the trial of two women alleged to have blackmailed him.
He reported GLAM's Kim Da Hee and model Lee Ji Yeon to the police a few months ago, saying they asked for a payment of $5 million or they would release video footage of the actor engaged in a sexually explicit conversation. Da Hee and Lee Ji Yeon have admitted to the extortion attempt but said that it happened in retaliation for the break-up of a relationship between the married 41-year-old actor and the model. Da Hee said that when Lee Byung Hun suddenly broke off the relationship Lee Ji Yeon was heartbroken. Lee Byung Hun denies there was a romantic relationship and said he stopped seeing the women socially when he discovered the extent of their financial problems.
His attorney called such claims defamation of character. To prevent the actor from suffering further defamation of character, the trial was conducted in private.
Lee Byung Hun showed up for the trial shortly after 1:30 p.m., accompanied by an entourage of six people that included his manager and his bodyguard. The actor did not speak to the press as he entered the Central District Courthouse through a bookstore entrance. To avoid further questioning by the press, he spent the time before the 2 p.m. trial talking to his attorney in the bathroom.
The trial lasted for three hours. As access to the trial was limited, it is not known exactly what happened, but some comments have been reported by the media. According to SportsSeoul, the actor explained how he met the women and why he stopped spending time with them. Lee Ji Yeon repeated her claim that she was in a relationship with the actor and presented messages between them to support her claim.
Supposedly Lee Byung Hun countered the messages, saying that they were a joke and then saying he did not even remember the messages.
After he left the court, he did briefly speak to press, stressing his honesty.
"I spoke the truth," he said. "Now I will wait for the verdict."
Whatever their motivations, Lee Ji Yeon and Da Hee have already admitted to the crime of blackmailing the actor. Da Hee has sent at least a dozen letters of apology to the court hoping for leniency in sentencing. Both women face the possibility of prison time for their alleged blackmail attempt.
Lee Byung Hun married actress Lee Min Jung in a lavish wedding last year. She met him in Los Angeles recently but did not return to Korea with him when he testified in the trial.
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