Slain judge's wife accuses Suharto son
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The widow of a slain Indonesian judge has accused murder suspect Tommy Suharto of bribing her husband in an effort to influence the verdict on his corruption case.
Soima, one of the wives of Supreme Court Justice Syafiuddin Kartasasmita, broke down in tears as she told a packed Indonesian court on Wednesday how the youngest son of former Indonesian President Suharto pressured her husband.
She said Tommy, whose real name is Hutomo Mandala Putra, offered Kartasasmita a $20,000 bribe to clear him of graft charges in a multimillion-dollar real estate scam.
Soima added Tommy warned her husband in October 2000 that he could be "nasty to those who are nasty to him," after the judge refused his offer.
Kartasasmita found Tommy guilty of corruption and sentenced him to 18 months in prison. But Tommy went into hiding in September 2000 immediately after the verdict was handed down.
While Tommy was on the run, Kartasasmita was shot five times at close range by two men on motorcycles.
Tommy is now facing four charges -- premeditated murder, illegal possession of arms and flight. He could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.
The alleged killers, who are standing trial separately, told police they killed Kartasasmita on orders from Tommy.
But Tommy's lawyers are confident their client will be found innocent, and maintained that the charges are baseless.
They also claimed that the witnesses were coerced into testifying against the former presidential son.
The murder trial is one of several ongoing high-profile cases involving powerful but allegedly corrupt members of the former Suharto regime.
The cases are seen as a big test for Indonesia's justice system whose image has been tarnished by claims of corruption.
The cases also serve as a test for Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri's resolve to rid the country of corruption, and prosecute Suharto's cronies who allegedly plundered the country.
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