State: Delay in Talansky deposition may harm case against PM - Israel News, Ynetnews

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To depose or not to depose. Talansky Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
To depose or not to depose. Talansky Photo: Dudi Vaaknin

State: Delay in Talansky deposition may harm case against PM

Prosecution contests Olmert's attorneys' motion to declare American businessman's testimony in 'cash envelop' as finished, saying decision on indictment makes it redundant; say such ruling may prove detrimental to future trial

Aviad Glickman
Published: 04.05.09, 18:36 / Israel News

The State Prosecutor's Office asserted its objection to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's attorneys' motion asking the court to determine Morris Talansky's testimony in the "cash envelops" case pending against their client as finished.


The American businessman took the stand last summer, shortly before leaving for the US. Talansky agreed to return to Israel only recently, to continue his deposition at the State's demand, but Olmert's attorneys argued that since the decision on the indictment has already been made; continuing with the testimony would be redundant.


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The State disagreed, saying that Talansky's deposition was cut short at the former prime minister's defense team's request; further alleging that since his testimony was in fact granted as part of a pre-trial deposition motion, it must be concluded immediately.


According to the prosecution, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz already informed Olmert that he wants to hold all of his judiciary hearings, meant to determine whether or not the cases against him will indeed culminate in criminal proceedings, in a consecutive manner.


The Attorney General's Office intends to press charges against Olmert in two other cases as well: The Investment Center case, in which he is suspected of exerting his influence in favor of confidant Attorney Uri Messer's interests; and the Rishon Tours' double-billing case, in which his is suspected of double and triple-billing trips abroad to Jewish institutions, pocketing the difference or financing trips for relatives.


As for the former premier's claim that his case should be heard in a magistrate's court and not in a district court, the State said that once the prosecution announced it intend on filing the charges with the Jerusalem District Court there can be no question of jurisdiction.


The prosecution also argues the merits of bringing the (deposition) proceeding to a "swift end," and cautions against "risking the witness becoming unavailable in the future, potentially causing evidentiary harm to the case and trial."


Given Talansky's reluctance to resume his testimony, warned the State, "It would be risky to rely on the future possibility of his testimony and therefore would be unwise to postpone the continuing of his deposition."


Amir Dan, Olmert's communications director, said that "the prosecution needs to hold Talansky's deposition now, after so hastily deciding to file an indictment; this proves that their decision was based on a partial view of the case."


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