The trial of disgraced Chinese Communist Party high-flyer Bo Xilai concluded Monday with a dramatic final flourish as he accused the former police chief who brought about his downfall of having a crush on his wife.
Bo's politically sensitive corruption trial has brought forth a plethora of rich, eye-opening details about the apparently lavish and emotionally fraught life of his family and inner circle, giving Chinese people insights into how some of the ruling elite live.
But at the same time, doubts have arisen about the completeness of the account of court proceedings provided by Chinese authorities.
Still, over the past five days, the court has heard allegations of adultery, a punch to the head, squabbles over a villa on the French Riviera and attempts to cover up the murder of a British businessman.
As the trial wrapped up Monday, the prosecution called for Bo to be strictly punished over the charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. The court in the eastern city of Jinan said the verdict would be announced at a later date.
Bo, a charismatic and divisive leader when he was in power, has kept up a steady attack on the case against him throughout the hearings.
In comments Monday published by the court, Bo complained that "not even the worst TV script writers could come up with such plots" as some of the bribery accusations.
But he then proceeded to describe a storyline worthy of a soap opera, suggesting a romantic link between two figures who played central roles in the drama that ended his political career.
The people in question are Wang Lijun, Bo's former police chief in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, whose failed attempt to defect to the United States in February 2012 precipitated the crisis that shook the Communist Party to its foundations; and Gu Kailai, Bo's wife, who is now in prison after a court convicted her last year of murdering Neil Heywood, a British businessman and associate of the Bo family.
Prosecutors accuse Bo of threatening and improperly firing Wang after learning of Gu's suspected involvement in Heywood's murder.
A punch or a slap?
Wang, who is now serving a 15-year prison sentence for multiple offenses, said in testimony over the weekend that upon learning of the suspicions, Bo punched him in the head, bloodying his mouth and causing a "discharge" from his ear.
Wang told prosecutors that Bo's physical violence against him, as well as the disappearance of his aides and investigators, led to his decision to seek refuge in the U.S. diplomatic mission in Chengdu.
Bo denies punching Wang, claiming it was just a slap. And over the weekend, he questioned Wang's reliability, saying "this man has extremely bad character and lies on the spot."
In his statement Monday, Bo offered a new explanation for Wang's attempted defection.
"The true reason of Wang Lijun's flight was because he had a crush on Gu Kailai and he couldn't get over it," Bo said, alleging that Wang had confessed his feelings to Gu and "slapped himself eight times."
In written and video testimony shown in court last week, Gu linked Bo to some of the crimes the prosecution alleges. Bo responded by suggesting that as she'd already been convicted, she lacked credibility and was seeking a more lenient sentence.
The allegation of Wang's feelings for Gu added a fresh layer of intrigue to the case, which has drawn widespread interest on Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblog service. The court's official Weibo account, which provided updates on developments inside the courtroom, now has more than half a million followers.
Doubts about the court's reporting
But with journalists from the international news media denied access to the courtroom, the comprehensiveness of the court's version of events is in question.