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On state's request, Supreme Court ends appeal to reverse Zaken acquittals
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
22/04/2014
State had agreed to drop the appeal as part of a plea deal to cooperate against Olmert in the Holyland case.
 
Upon the state’s request, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the remaining potential charges against Shula Zaken on appeal from the July 2012 Jerusalem corruption trial verdict.

Zaken was convicted on two minor charges in that case, but acquitted on the more serious charges and the state had appealed her acquittals to the Supreme Court.

However, as part of a plea bargain with Zaken to cooperate against former prime minister Ehud Olmert in the Holyland case, in trying to reverse Olmert’s acquittals in the Jerusalem corruption trial and in trying to file a new indictment against him, the state had agreed to drop the appeal.

Earlier in April, Olmert was questioned for several days by police regarding the possible new indictment against him for allegedly trying to convince Zaken not to cooperate with the state.

At the time, reports surfaced from anonymous sources close to Olmert counter-accusing Zaken of having tried to solicit and entrap Olmert – and said that Olmert did not take the bait.

The reports also indicated that Zaken approached Olmert for counsel when she was offered a plea bargain by the state at a much earlier date. He contended that anything he said to her was permitted on the principle that co-defendants can plan joint trial strategy.

Questioned on Army Radio about the counter-accusations against Zaken, her lawyer Ofer Bartal said that he could not fully respond since the investigation was ongoing, but intimated that Olmert’s real actions, which police would confront him with, would not reflect well on him.

Olmert’s spokesman Amir Dan had blasted law enforcement, saying that he expected more humanity from the prosecution.

Dan also said that “the stubbornness of the prosecution about the police questioning Olmert at this specific moment, only days after his conviction and when he is preparing for sentencing arguments is targeted at two purposes: to break Mr. Olmert at all costs and to improperly influence the arguments on sentencing.”

He added that Olmert had been “dragged through the mud for eight years” and that the prosecution was trying to cover for its embarrassment at the court seeming to reject its deal with Zaken as poor judgment.

Olmert’s sentencing hearing in the Holyland trial following his conviction of bribery is set for April 28.

Following the signing of a plea bargain with the prosecution, Zaken has reportedly provided the prosecution with a laundry list of attempts by Olmert, some possibly on tape, to pressure her not to cooperate with the cases against him.

Though Olmert was already convicted in the Holyland case and may face jail time from that case alone, the new charges could be a whole new problematic legal front for him.

The prosecution is also expected to try to convince Holyland Judge David Rozen to give Zaken, who was also convicted of bribery, a relatively lenient sentence of 11 months in prison.
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