The ongoing trial of Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
continued Thursday in the Jerusalem District Court, focusing on the "cash envelopes" affair involving American businessman Morris Talansky.
Olmert was asked by Prosecutor Uri Korev to testify about calling Talansky a "crook" during his police investigation. "I've already said that after a long while I discovered certain things about Mr. Talansky didn't add up. I've mentioned this a few times before," Olmert explained to the court.
The prosecutor remarked that allegedly Talansky has no interest in framing Olmert, because he himself has been questioned under caution for cooperating with the man who was in charge of transferring the donations.
Korev reminded Olmert that during one of his recorded conversations with investigators that "he had mentioned you like smoking $100 cigars and that you have many pens. He said that one who prefers materialistic ambitions will never be satisfied. When you love money, it's never enough. He goes on to claim you received money from him. 'He's a thief, he's a liar,' he says about you."
In response Olmert remarked: "A minute ago we heard the complete opposite statements about his unwillingness to hurt me. Suddenly he says I'm a liar and a thief. It is beneath me to address this entire story. Talansky never gave me a cigar, a pen, a tie or any personal gift. It's all fantasies
that present his personality in a different light than the one I saw during the time he helped me."
The tension between the prosecutor and the former prime minister was clear when Korev told Olmert: "You attack anyone who creates a problem to you, anyone who gives out information that might incriminate you."
Throughout the testimony Korev inquired why Olmert never answered the police's question of whether he had received cash from Talansky, but only addressed the issue in a general manner saying he has not been given ineligible money.
Olmert claimed he had thought the investigators were only talking about illegal money transactions he had allegedly received. "When it came to covering the expenses for events Talansky was interested in, he covered the expenses," answered Olmert.
The former prime minster also confessed that he may have given cash to attorney Uri Messer, money that derived from contributions. This testimony contradicts what Olmert told police earlier about never giving Messer cash.
Olmert attempted to explain this paradox, saying: "I told police that Shula (Olmert's bureau chief Shula Zaken) may have given Messer the cash, but the questions just tried to prove it's about illegal money transactions, using the term 'bribe.'"