South Korean President Park Geun-hye finds out Friday whether a court will remove her from office over a corruption scandal or allow her to complete her term.
Park's single five-year term was originally due to end in February 2018, and regardless of the court's ruling, her credibility may be hopelessly compromised, the experts say. (STAND UP) In addition, Korea will be required to hold a presidential election within 60 days, if the motion is upheld by the Constitutional Court.
Park allegedly forced several officials who did not co-operate with Choi - who is now on trial for abuse of power, coercion and fraud - to resign or change posts.
Serious breach of any one is sufficient to confirm impeachment, but six votes - a two-thirds majority of the full bench - are needed, even though only eight justices are sitting.
Since then, more explosive allegations have emerged, with special prosecutors this week saying they recommend a total of 13 charges against the president, including abuse of power and receiving bribes.
Samsung's de facto head, Lee Jae-yong, went on trial Thursday on a range of charges including bribery, embezzlement and perjury, and Choi has been on trial for months.
"The core objective of this investigation was to shed light on longstanding collusion between private interests and the government, and to expose cases of abuse of state power for personal gain", said Park Young-soo, the head of the special prosecution team.
Expected to last about an hour, the verdict hearing on the president's impeachment trial will start at 11 a.m. on Friday and is to be broadcast live to the nation.
"We will calmly wait for the court's decision", the official said. Such a decision will likely take the air out of the investigation into the scandal.
Park also became close to Choi's daughter, Choi Soon-sil, the confidante at the center of this scandal, and their friendship continued after both their fathers died.
The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) urged Park to declare that she will accept whatever outcome for the sake of national unity, reflecting political opinion outside of the conservative ruling camp.
"In the minds of the Korean public, impeachment is nearly like a death penalty for any president, and that is sufficient", he added.