The State Prosecutor's Office announced Tuesday that it intends to appeal the acquittal of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a corruption case that was brought against him, as well as the sentence issued in another case.
This past July, the Jerusalem District Court cleared Olmert of fraud, breach of trust and tax evasion, among other charges filed in the cases known as the Talansky Affair and the Rishon Tours double billing scandal. He was, however, found guilty of breach of trust in the Investment Center case.
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The head of the prosecution's criminal department, Joey Ash, informed Olmert's lawyer, on Tuesday that the State will appeal the rulings, but did not specify whether both exonerations will be subject to the motion.
Olmert with attorney Eli Zohar (Photo: AP)
The former prime minister's spokesperson, Amir Dan, branded the announcement as "mean-spirited personal prosecution of Mr. Olmert."
"For four years, three district judges headed by the president of the Jerusalem District Court examined all of the evidence in the case, and exonerated Mr. Olmert… while harshly criticizing the prosecution's conduct in the matter," Dan said. "Instead of taking the criticism to heart and studying the verdict in order to make sure that the incident doesn't repeat itself ever again… the state prosecutor is trying to save face."
Dan further accused the prosecution of "abusing its power to hurt a man."
Sources close to Olmert said recently that he is considering the possibility of contending in the next Knesset elections. He is expected to announce a decision in the coming days. The sources said last week that there is no legal reason to prevent Olmert from returning to politics.
The prosecution believes that an appeal in the Talansky case is likely to be successful because during the trial the court accepted several of the prosecution's claims, including the fact that Olmert received funds from US businessman Morris Talansky and that he had asked a confidant, Uri Messer, to store hundreds of thousands of dollars for him in a "secret safe." The court nevertheless asserted that Olmert's actions did not violate criminal laws.
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