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Judge Rejects Rep. Kim's Request for Early End to Probation

Court: Congressman sought to move to South Korea, where he was offered a job as a TV talk show host.

October 09, 1998|DAVID ROSENZWEIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A federal judge Thursday rejected Rep. Jay C. Kim's request to be removed from supervised probation so he can move to South Korea and host a television talk show.

Kim, who was convicted last year of accepting illegal contributions from corporate and foreign donors, had written to federal Judge Richard A. Paez last month seeking an early end to his probation. Kim wrote that he was saddled with heavy legal debts and faced an uncertain financial future when he leaves office in January.

Fortunately, he went on, he had been offered a high-paying job hosting a television talk show in his native South Korea, patterned after CNN's "Larry King Live."

The proposed contract required Kim to move to Seoul this month. But under terms of his probation, the Diamond Bar congressman is required to stay in close and frequent contact with his federal probation officer.

Federal prosecutors protested Kim's proposal, arguing that it would make his sentence merely a slap on the wrist.

In a plea bargain with prosecutors, Kim pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors instead of facing trial on possible felony charges. He was fined and sentenced to two months of home detention, followed by one year of supervised probation.

Kim had no comment Thursday on Paez's ruling, an aide said.

Kim was defeated in the Republican primary last June as he sought a fourth term in the 41st District, which includes parts of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.

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