Verdict in Bo Xilai case expected within days but an appeal is likely
The Jinan court hearing the case of disgraced Politburo member Bo Xilai is expected to hand down its verdict this weekend, a source with direct knowledge of the case said.
The source, who declined to be named, said it was unlikely that the verdict would bring an end to China's most sensational scandal in decades, as Bo would probably lodge an appeal.
Bo, 64, is charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. He rejected the accusations and struck a defiant, almost accusatory, stance throughout his five-day trial at Jinan's Intermediate People's Court, in Shandong province, which ended on August 26.
The source said the verdict would probably be delivered on Sunday - the mainland begins three days of holiday for the Mid-Autumn Festival tomorrow.
Prosecutors linked Bo to almost 27 million yuan (HK$34 million) in bribes and embezzlement. He faces a minimum of 10 years in jail or even the death penalty. The prosecution pressed for a severe punishment, citing Bo's lack of remorse.
"The defendant's crimes are extremely serious," the prosecutors said during the trial. "It must be dealt with severely according to the law."
But two sources with close ties to family associates of Bo and his wife, Gu Kailai , said he would likely receive a lenient sentence. They both said Bo would be jailed for less than 15 years.
Bo, party chief in Chongqing until his fall, is the highest-ranking official prosecuted since former Beijing party boss Chen Xitong in 1998 and Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu in 2008, who were jailed for 16 and 18 years respectively. Chen Xitong's appeal was rejected by the supreme court.
During the trial, Bo said he was flawed, but suggested Gu and his former police chief Wang Lijun , who both testified against him, had an "extremely special relationship".
"Ninety-nine per cent of the facts the prosecutor just stated have nothing to do with me or my case," Bo said during the trial.