China's most sensational trial in decades has ended with disgraced politician Bo Xilai hinting at a love triangle involving his wife and former right hand man - both key witnesses against him - as he made last-ditch efforts to redeem his reputation.
The prosecution countered by saying Bo should be severely punished because he showed no remorse in the five-day corruption trial that offered lurid glimpses into an elite Chinese family's underhanded enrichment and sordid unravelling.
Bo's hints at a love triangle involving his wife, Gu Kailai, and his former police chief, Wang Lijun - both of whom testified against the ex-politburo member - came after he had denounced both as either crazy or dishonest during the proceedings.
"He was secretly in love with Gu Kailai, his emotions were tangled and he could not extricate himself," Bo told the court.
The trial is aimed at cementing Bo's political downfall and wrapping up the scandal set off by his wife's murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in late 2011. Prosecutors said the proceedings have shown adequate proof of Bo's guilt of taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power in interfering with the murder investigation.
"The defendant's crimes are extremely grave, and he also refuses to admit guilt. As such, the circumstances do not call for a lenient punishment but a severe one, in accordance with the law," the prosecutor said.
Though Bo's downfall has widely been perceived as the result of his defeat in party infighting ahead of last fall's once-a-decade leadership transition, officials have taken unusual steps to portray his trial as a legitimate prosecution of his misdeeds, including the release of detailed, though presumably vetted, transcripts of the proceedings.
Bo refrained from using the trial as a stage on which to denounce the administration and the opponents who purged him. However, he mounted a vigorous defence against the criminal charges, recanting earlier confessions and rarely expressing contrition as he sought to lay the blame for most of the misdeeds on his wife and others.
He will be sentenced at a later date.