BY Julie Jones | Mar 05, 2015 10:07 AM EST
There may be a settlement in the Lee Byung Hun blackmail case that keeps model Lee Ji Yeon and singer-actress Kim Da Hee from going to prison.
On January 15 Lee Ji Yeon and Kim Da Hee were sentenced to prison time for trying to extort money from Lee Byung Hun. Da Hee was sentenced to a year in prison and Lee Ji Yeon was sentenced to a year and two months. They lodged an appeal.
Less than a month later, Newsen reported that actor Lee Byung Hun filled out forms requesting a pardon for the women convicted of attempting to blackmail him. He did not want them to go to prison.
The Korea Herald reported today that Lee and the blackmailers are close to reaching a settlement.
"Given that the crime was accidental and no more than an attempt and they are young, the punishment is ot justifiable," said a representative of the legal team representing Lee Ji Yeon and Kim Da Hee. "The victim and the defendants have virtually reached an agreement."
The actor reported the blackmail attempt to the police in August 2014, saying the women asked him for $5 million or they would release video footage of him involved in a sexually explicit conversation. To complicate matters Lee Ji Yeon said she was involved in an affair with the actor, who is married to actress Lee Min Jung. He denied the affair, although texts released in court showed ongoing communication between them.
The actor married Lee Min Jung in August 2013 at a star-studded celebrity wedding. After the news broke, Lee Min Jung did not return to her marital home and instead lived with her parents. There was speculation that the marriage was in trouble. But then Lee Min Jung traveled to Los Angeles to join Lee Byung Hun, who was working there. And she further surprised fans by announcing her pregnancy. The couple is expecting their first child in April.
Although Lee Byung Hun was the victim in the blackmail case, many netizens faulted him for placing himself in a situation where he might have been blackmailed. He apologized for the situation when he and Lee Min Jung returned to Korea on February 25.
"Because this all started with me, it's right that I should receive the blame," he said. "I know very well what you are disappointed about, but because of my foolish behavior, a long period of time has passed. I know many have been hurt and disappointed by me. I will deeply reflect and try harder in the future."
The actor also submitted a letter of apology to the court for the mistake he made that led to the blackmail case.
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