Togsun Park, in his second day of testimony in the bribery trial of Otto E. Passman, told of cash payments in brown manila envelopes to the former congressman.
The millionaire South Korean businessman is the prosecution's chief witness against the 78-year-old Passman, former Long-time chairman of a key House Appropriations subcommittee. Passman is charged with receiving over $200,000 from Park in return for pressuring the United States and the Korean government into rice sales, and with failure to pay taxes on the alleged payoffs.
Park testified to giving four contributions totaling $45,000 to Passman during private meetings in 1972 and $19,000 in antique watches and jewelry purchased from the congressman.
Several of the contributions were made in Passman's Washington, D.C., office, delivered by Park in manila envelopes. Two of the 1972 contributions occurred near the date Passman wrote letters to Korean President Park Chung Hee praising Tongsun Park, the Lorean businessman testified.
Park took the witness stand Tuesday in the only trial of a pst or present member of Congress implicated in the Korean bribery scandal. Passman, his hand cupped over his ear, strained to hear Park's testimony.
On Tuesday, Park testified about his relationship with the former congressman. He said, "We made commitments to help each other." Park told the jury of Passman's former constitutents that the congressman would not speak with him during 1970 and 1971. But the intervention of then-congressman, now governor, Edwin Edwards changed the relationship in early 1972. Park testified, "Congressman Passman said there were certain things I could do for him -- I volunteered to take care of one-third" of his annual campaign expenses.
Passman told Park his yearly campaign requirement was $150,000. In return for his contribution, Park testified, he relied on Passman in three areas: to strengthen his situation against his adversaries, cut down bureaucratic red tape, and maximize U.S. financing of Korean rice purchases.
Under examination by Justice Department attorney David Scott, Park said his adversaries in the Korean government "hated my guts" because he was "too independent." His friendship with Passman, he said, facilitated the maintenance of his position as the preferred rice agent in sales between the United States and South Korea.
Earlier Tuesday, the prosecution showed Passman had frequent contact with Park, but often tried to give the opposite impression.
Prosecution witness Michael Adler, chief of the U.S. Agency for International Department mission in Korea from 1971 to 1975, said Passman spoke of his "dislike, concern and suspicion" of Park, yet the two were frequently seen together.
David Michael Winn, who worked for Passman between 1972 and 1974, told of frequent meetings in Passman's office between the congressman and Park. Winn said Passman would greet Park warmly and refer to him as "Mr. Ambassador."
Nancy Sohl, a longtime congressional aide, recalled an April 1975 Washington Post article about Park's relationship with various congressmen which cause a reaction from Passman. Sohl testified Passman "came into the staff room and showed us the article... and said if asked we were to say we hardly knew Mr. Park."
In the defense opening statement, Camille F. Gravel Jr. indicated he would attempt to discredit Park's testimony and expose his "sometime sinister" relationship with the Korean government during his cross-exmination of Aprk which is scheduled to begin tomorrow. Agreements between the United States and Korea preclude the prosecution questioning Park about his connections to the Seoul government.