Olmert in court
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Judges deny Olmert's demand for continuance
Court rejects defense's demand for probe against prosecution for allegedly instructing witness

The Jerusalem District Court renewed hearings on the cases against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Thursday, with sides continuing the battle over a testimony by a travel agent from Rishon Tours, the agency at the center of the double-billing case.


Olmert's attorneys claimed the agent, Hadar Saltzman, was unlawfully guided by the prosecution and that she received a document detailing questions and answers for her interrogation.


However the defense did not provide the judges with the document in question, and after conferring for a few minutes they ordered that the cross-examination continue. The judges also ordered the prosecution to refrain from providing witnesses with edited documents.


Earlier Jerusalem District Prosecutor Eli Abarbanel argued that without the document present, the defense's claims could not be debated.


But Olmert's attorney, Eli Zohar, demanded that the hearing against Olmert be delayed until an investigation had been carried out. "We discovered the document by accident, and it shocked us to the core," he said.


"Something very serious has occurred at this trial. It is serious because a sufficient number of respectable lawyers have determined that it is serious. You could call it public relations or a spin, but the first to request a probe should have been our friends the prosecutors."


Judge Jacob Zaban said he would prefer to have a copy of the document. "We are sitting here without knowing a thing. It is an impossible situation," he told the attorneys.


Saltzman's testimony was halted Tuesday after the defense claimed she had received a 32-page document provided by the prosecution days before her testimony in court, which included questions she would be asked and answers she must provide. The judges agreed to stop the hearing and hold another on the matter Thursday.


Meanwhile, Olmert's attorneys sent a harsh letter of complaint Wednesday to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein demanding that he open an investigation against senior officials at the State Prosecutor's Office and the Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office.


The lawyers accused the prosecution of witness tampering, abuse of authority and obstruction of justice, and claimed they harassed and unfairly influenced a witness.


פרסום ראשון: 06.24.10, 11:43
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