The state witness in the Holyland trial admitted to initially lying to the police and to inventing people involved in the scheme who did not even exist to try to convince other defendants to join him in turning state's witness, he testified in Tel Aviv District Court on Monday.

Monday marked a new stage of the trial as the defense began cross-examining S.D., as he is known under a gag order.

Hillel Cherny's attorney, Giora Aderet, was the first to cross-examine S.D. Cherny, according to S.D., was the lead investor and benefactor in the Holyland scheme and directed his actions in terms of who S.D. would bribe and how high the bribes would be.

The Holyland trial involves allegations of bribery against 16 defendants, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert, for moving forward a major real estate project in Jerusalem where the Holyland hotel used to stand, even as the project violated numerous zoning and building laws.

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