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Guilty Plea

Omri Sharon in court Photo: Yaron Brenner
Omri Sharon in court Photo: Yaron Brenner
 
In the name of the father? PM Sharon Photo: AP
In the name of the father? PM Sharon Photo: AP
 
 

Sharon’s son pleads guilty

MK Omri Sharon, the prime minister's son, pleads guilty to charges of illegal political fundraising at Tel Aviv Magistrates court Tuesday. Sharon will address court during sentence hearing, his attorney reports

Vered Luvitch
Latest Update: 11.15.05, 12:35 / Israel News

MK Omri Sharon, the prime ministers' son, pled guilty to the charges against him at the Tel Aviv Magistrates court, and was convicted.

 

Sharon pled guilty to charges of keeping false corporate records, providing false testimony, and violating political fundraising laws.

 

Omri Sharon arrives in court (Footage: Yaron Brenner)

 

Sharon's defense attorney, Dan Scheinman, said during the court hearing: "In the past months, we have held intensive negotiations in complete discreteness, in a bid to agree on a guilty plea at the opening of the trial. This was not simple."

 

"It was important for Omri to confess and assume full responsibility for his actions."

 

However, Scheinmen said that while claiming responsibility is important, the law itself was also at fault.

 

"The political fundraising law is a law that cannot be abided by. It in fact represents a trap for everyone who wishes to participate in the elections," he said.

 

Scheinman noted that at the defense's request, a comparative research on primaries funding was conducted by Dr. Menachem Hoffman.

 

The research indicated that the Knesset has arbitrarily established unrealistic limits to fundraising sums.

 

"Not only was the law never examined or contemplated, it was also never enforced, and no one has been brought to court on its account. Omri Sharon is the first," Scheinman said.

 

In response, Judge Edna Bekenstein asked the attorney if he expected her to ammend the law.

 

Prosecutor Erez Nurieli said after the hearing was adjourned that Sharon's attempt to conceal his actions was what got him involved in the criminal investigation.

 

Nurieli said he welcomes the guilty plea and stressed that the prosecution insists on a prison sentence for Sharon.

 

His plea will in effect end his political career, as the conviction would disqualify him from holding public service jobs for years. The sides have not agreed, however, on Sharon’s sentence, with prosecutors insisting on at least some jail time.

 

Gave up immunity

 

The decision to indict Sharon junior over illegal fundraising charges was announced at the end of July of this year by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.

 

The charges against Omri Sharon go back to Ariel Sharon's fundraising campaign during the 1999 Likud primaries.

 

The Justice Ministry was forced to wait for 30 days following Mazuz's announcement in order to allow Sharon to ask for Knesset immunity. The 30-day period ends today, and Omri Sharon, as expected, has not asked to exercise his immunity.

 

In an earlier letter sent to Knesset chairman Reuven Rivlin and Knesset committee chairman Ronny Bar-On, Omri Sharon said that he is giving up his immunity.

 

Tal Rosner contributed to this report

 

First Published: 11.14.05, 21:15

 

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