JINAN - Fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai Saturday launched a scathing attack on a key witness in his corruption trial, saying even the most stupid official knows not to discuss bribery where they can be overheard.
The scandal which has rocked the ruling Communist Party was triggered by the death of a British businessman - for which Bo's wife Gu Kailai was convicted of murder - and the courtroom drama has gripped the nation.
Bo's performance has been defiant, denying bribe-taking and embezzlement, with accusations of abuse of power still to be addressed as the trial - widely expected to be only two days long - moved into an unexpected third day.
Wang Zhenggang, a former planning official in Dalian, where Bo was the mayor in the 1990s, told the court the politician had telephoned Gu in front of him and told her to take delivery of five million yuan ($820,000) from a local government construction project.
Bo said the claim of a phone call did not make sense. "It is not even what the most stupid corruption offender would do," he said.
"Corrupt offenders with even the lowest IQ would ask who else in Dalian was aware of the money."
He added: "All those who know me know that I ask them to switch off their mobile phones before I speak. I am quite cautious."
The comments appeared in regular but delayed transcripts of the hearings the Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, in eastern China, is providing on its verified account on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.
But no live audio or video is available, and nor are any foreign media or independent observers present in court.
The scandal erupted in advance of a generational shift of power atop the factionalised Communist Party, and Bo's feisty performance during his trial has astonished a public unfamiliar with the open airing of top-level intrigue.
Revelations of private jet flights, luxury villas and rare animal meats have held Chinese readers spellbound, while Bo has showed open disdain for prosecution witnesses, including Gu, whom he derided as "insane".