12:45pm Saturday 28th July 2012
© Press Association 2014
The wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has agreed to be defended by two government-appointed lawyers in the murder case against her, two different lawyers with knowledge of the case say.
Her decision could be the latest sign that a resolution to her case is near.
Gu Kailai's lawyers are based in Anhui province, where her trial is to be held. It is hundreds of miles from Chongqing city, where Gu is alleged to have killed a British businessman and where her husband was the Communist Party boss until earlier this year.
A lawyer close to the case said Gu and her family have accepted the court appointment of Anhui lawyer Jiang Min, a director of the provincial lawyers' association, as her defence lawyer, along with a second lawyer, Zhou Yuhao, of Wuhu, another Anhui city.
Another lawyer with knowledge of Gu's case confirmed that Mr Jiang would represent Gu but did not know the name of her second lawyer.
Neither lawyer was available for comment.
The government announced on Thursday that Gu and a family aide had been charged with murdering Neil Heywood, a British businessman with whom the Bo family had close ties.
Chinese authorities are now also expected to move ahead quickly with the trial, which has overshadowed preparations for a once-a-decade political transition later this year.
Mr Bo had been expected to be part of the transition until a fall from power earlier this year after his former police chief fled to a US consulate and divulged suspicions that Gu was involved in Mr Heywood's death.
Three months ago, the government announced that Gu and Zhang Xiaojun, the family aide, were being investigated and that Mr Bo was being suspended from the powerful Politburo for discipline violations that were not detailed.
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