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Olmert's lawyers: Sentence beyond all proportion, we will appeal
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
05/13/2014
PM's attorney says Olmert remains emphatic that he took no bribes; State Attorney's Office: There is one rule for those who are corrupt.
 
Ehud Olmert’s attorneys said Tuesday that they would appeal the six-year prison sentence that the former prime minister received for bribery charges in the Holyland real estate affair.

Eli Zohar, Olmert’s lawyer, said that the words of Judge David Rozen about his client were “very harsh,” adding that the court had lumped all the defendants together.

“Olmert has been emphatic that he took no bribes. We will appeal to the Supreme Court,” Zohar said.

Amir Dan, Olmert’s spokesman, echoed those messages, saying that the sentence was beyond all proportion and the norms of sentencing, and was based on wrong assumptions.

The court wrongly convicted “a man who made a huge contribution to the state,” Dan asserted.

The State Attorney’s Office, however, welcomed the sentence, saying that justice had been served.

Liat Ben-Ari, head of the Economic Crimes Division for the state, said following the sentencing that “those who give or receive bribes are corrupt. There is one rule for those who are corrupt: A jail sentence and making them give the money back to the state, and for public officials, moral turpitude.”

Ben-Ari added that “no one is above the law. This is not an easy day for the state, but our law enforcement and the courts will continue to send the right message.”

When asked about the court’s decision to automatically give Olmert and the other Holyland defendants until September 1 to begin serving their sentences, she said that the state hadn’t been able to express an opinion on the matter, and would explore the possibility of protesting the ruling.

Daniel Clinton contributed to this report.
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