The U.S. government’s case against Korean American Stephen J. Kim continues to drag on in the courts, tapping his family’s financial resources and testing their resolve.
Kim, 43, recently told the JoongAng Daily that the case has been a financial and emotional drain on him and his family.
The U.S. government claims he divulged classified information to a journalist in 2009 when Kim was serving as a senior adviser to the U.S. State Department on arms control. He was indicted last August on charges of disclosing classified national defense information.
Kim said the whole ordeal has been crushing. “The legal process is protracting without progress,” Kim said as he left a courtroom in Washington on Tuesday. “My life and the career that I have built have stopped too.”
Kim was in court for his fifth appearance since the indictment but the main legal proceedings are not expected to start any time soon.
Abbe Lowell, the main lawyer for Kim, said the case is likely to take a long time to resolve. And until the case is settled, Kim said, “I can’t go beyond 25 miles out of Washington, can’t travel and can’t go meet people close to me,” Kim said.
Kim said his family in Korea has nearly gone bankrupt to help pay his legal expenses – he said his parents in Korea sold out their house – and he is only making ends meet by living with the help of acquaintances.
According to those with knowledge of the case, Kim may have to pay around $1.5 million to the lawyers until the case is closed. His acquaintances have set up a website in an effort to raise defense funds for Kim.
Kim emigrated to the United States when he was 8 years old and earned degrees from Georgetown and Harvard and a doctorate from Yale, according to the New York Times.