Verdict in Bo Xilai Graft Trial to Be Announced on Sept. 22

A Chinese court will announce the verdict in the corruption trial of ousted Politburo member Bo Xilai on Sept. 22.

The decision will be made public at 10 a.m., the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court said on its official microblog account today. Bo’s five-day trial on charges of bribery, abuse of power and embezzlement ended Aug. 26.

Bo’s verdict and sentence will put a capstone on a case that roiled the Communist Party in the prelude to its once-a-decade leadership transition last year. Chinese state media have said that the trial demonstrated the party’s determination to crack down on corruption at the highest level.

Bo will probably appeal his verdict, the South China Morning Post reported today, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Bo will get a jail term of less than 15 years, it said, citing two people with close ties to family associates of Bo and his wife, Gu Kailai.

The court didn’t say when Bo’s sentence would be announced. In the case of Bo’s wife, the court handed down the sentence at the same time that it disclosed the verdict.

The trial broke with Chinese precedent of conducting such politically significant trials in secret because the Jinan court released edited transcripts of Bo defending himself.

During the trial, Bo accused his former police chief, Wang Lijun, of being in love with Gu and denied he was guilty of the charges against him. The bribery claim was something “even the lousiest TV drama scriptwriter wouldn’t create,” he said, according to trial transcripts.

Public’s Confidence

“It is believed that Bo’s trial will wipe out rumors and speculation, promoting the public’s confidence in China’s rule of law,” the state-run Global Times said in an editorial on Aug. 27, the day after Bo’s trial ended.

Bo, formerly party secretary of the southern municipality of Chongqing, was accused of taking more than 21 million yuan ($3.4 million) in bribes, embezzling 5 million yuan and abusing his power in the case of murdered British businessman Neil Heywood. Gu, Bo’s wife, was convicted last year of murdering Heywood and given a suspended death sentence.

— With assistance by Henry Sanderson

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