The State Prosecutor's Office was the target of exceptionally harsh criticism Tuesday, following the acquittal of former prime minister Ehud Olmert of the majority of corruption charges brought against him.
The indictment, which was filed in 2008, prompted Olmert's impeachment.
The court exonerated Olmert of any wrongdoing Talansky Affair and the Rishon Tours double billing scandal, but found him guilty of breach of trust in the Investment Center case.
The Kadima party, which Olmert headed at the time of his indictment, expressed outrage Tuesday, saying that the State Prosecutor's Office's conduct in the case had been "scandalous."
"This is one of the most severe legal earthquakes to ever hit Israel," MK Dalia Itzik said. "It's hard to see how all of these supposedly rock-solid cases, which forced him out of office, collapsed. This whole situation is absurd."
Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz also welcomed the acquittal.
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MK Yoel Hasson welcomed the verdict, saying that the indictment "wronged one of the best prime ministers Israel has ever had."
"The Israeli public finally understands that a prime minister was impeached for nothing. I hope this acquittal will pave his way back to politics," he said. "This is a dark day for the State Prosecution and the state prosecutor must seriously consider what's next for him."
Olmert after the verdict (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Senior legalists were stunned to learn of the court's ruling and many said that State Prosecutor Moshe Lador may have to resign following the ruling.
"This is a major shock as far as the prosecution is concerned," senior legal expert Prof. Emanuel Gross said. "This is a serious blow to the prosecution's prestige and certainly, to that of its chief, who personally pursued this case."
Senior publicist and author Amnon Dankner, who is a close friend of the former prime minister, blasted the prosecution: "After this ruling, the state prosecutor should do more than just consider resigning – he should consider suicide."
Elaborating on the startling statement, Dankner said that, "What Lador did – he effectively overthrew the government. He caused a prime minister to resign, he changed the lived of millions of Israelis – for the worst, in my opinion – and he did it in a shameful way."
Former MK Avraham Burg added: "This is an important day, a day in which legal truths were asserted. We have to respect the Judiciary for its decision.
"There are several conclusions to be drawn: The first – the price this took on Olmert, personally. The second – the legal system has to take stock and prevent high-profile cases from ending with virtually nothing. Someone should answer for the fact that this toppled a prime minister.
"The third conclusion is a political one – the political map changed this morning before our very eyes. It's too early to tell exactly how, but the change is very clear."
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