(VIDEO) Knesset Member Naomi Blumenthal (Likud) was convicted by the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court Monday of bribery and obstruction of justice. Blumenthal was acquitted of one minor bribery offense.
Blumenthal leaves courtroom (Photo: Eli Elgarat)
Blumenthal was found guilty of funding a meeting of Likud activists held in the Tel Aviv Sheraton City Tower hotel in 2002, in a bid to promote her chances in the party's primary elections. Blumenthal also paid a sum of NIS 12,000 (about USD 2,600) for the stay of 15 guests at the hotel on the eve of the primaries.
Naomi Blumenthal in court (Video: Yaron Brenner)
At a later stage, after the affair was leaked to the press, Blumenthal met with two of her contact people who helped organize the event at the hotel, and instructed them to give a false testimony if questioned by police.
Notably, Blumenthal was eventually ranked ninth in the Likud primary elections that year.
In their ruling, judges harshly criticized Blumenthal's conduct, stating the MK chose to act improperly. Judges also rejected Blumenthal's version for the affair, and preferred to believe a contradicting version provided by Blumenthal's former driver, who served as a key witness in the trial.
"Blumenthal hid behind her right to stay silent, while removing all responsibility for her actions from herself and trying to hold others responsible," judges wrote in their ruling, stressing Blumenthal lied time and time again during the trial.
In light of her conviction, Blumenthal may face a sentence of up to five years in prison.