(VIDEO) The decisive phase in the trial of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son Omri has begun Monday morning, with a number of character witnesses expected to take the stand throughout the week.
Omri confessed to, and was convicted of violating the Party Law and giving false testimony to the State Comptroller.
“The situation is awkward due to the prime minister’s hospitalization,” a State Prosecutor’s Office source said, adding that the prosecution will remain firm in its demand that Omri be sentenced to jail time in light of the severity of his offenses.
The first witness to take the stand in the trial was Omri's close friend Dror Mor. Mor claimed Omri had a restraining effect on his father, who carried out the disengagement.
"He accompanied his father as a restraining element, and had a great part in the fact his father did what he did," Mor said, adding Omri always assisted people in need, including bereaved families.
Several other character witnesses on Omri Sharon’s behalf are expected to take the stand following Mor, and “present him as a human being, not as the brute politician the public makes him out to be,” as a source close to Sharon put it.
Failed to report funds to Likud
Sharon’s defense team will attempt to convince the court not to sentence the prime minister’s son to a prison term.
Omri Sharon was convicted of crimes committed in 1999, when his father run in the Likud primaries. According to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, Omri Sharon was in charge of his father's elections campaign.
Between July 1999 and February 2000, he received over NIS 6 million (about USD 1,280,000) in donations from both Israel and abroad for the campaign.
The sums are a major violation of the permitted amount according to the Party Law.
Omri Sharon failed to report the massive funds to the Likud. In order to use the funds, he set up a private company to which the money was sent, and which then paid service providers.
Sharon ordered some service providers to be careful while writing their invoices, so that they don't expose the level of work they carried out.