(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Tel Aviv District Court Deputy President Oded Modrik had ordered Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto to fly from New York to Israel and present himself for his arraignment on Tuesday, despite Pinto’s strident objections that he is too ill to travel, the court spokesman announced on Sunday.
Pinto, who according to several media outlets is expected to arrive in the country on Monday, is due to plead guilty to bribery charges as part of his plea bargain.
Modrik’s ruling came amid dueling medical expert reports by the state and by Pinto regarding his medical condition, and the decision itself was rendered on April 8, though it was not announced due to the court recess.
Though Pinto’s medical expert said Pinto was still too unhealthy to travel back to Israel to be arraigned following months of delay of his arraignment, the court sided with the state’s expert report that said there was no medical reason why he could not make the trip even if he was ill.
Some groups have accused Pinto of intentionally delaying the hearing to try to back out of the deal.
Other events have also delayed his plea bargain and conviction being sealed by the court, including an October 2014 freezing of the agreement that was only lifted in February 2015 when the High Court of Justice decided to let the agreement go forward despite criticizing it.
The deal includes Pinto going on to be the state’s star witness against Asst.- Ch. (ret.) Menashe Arbiv, the former head of the police’s Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit, while Pinto will get a light jail sentence and obtain leniencies for cases that could have been filed against entities he runs and some of his family members.