Prosecutors say a key accomplice of the influential blogger at the center of an opinion rigging scandal testified that he and the blogger manipulated online opinions from prior to last year’s presidential election. 

The prosecution said that the accomplice, identified only by his surname Park, gave the testimony during a trial of the blogger, known by the surname Kim and the username “druking," on Wednesday. 

Suspicions had emerged that the blogger and his supporters had used data manipulation software to automatically raise the number of “likes” on online news comments during the presidential race. But it is the first time that investigative authorities have revealed supporting testimony from a key accomplice.  

Based on Park’s testimony, prosecutors said the essence of the scandal is a distortion in public opinion by rigging online comments since around January of last year.