Former prime minister Ehud Olmert with lawyer in court 311.
(photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem)
The Tel Aviv District Court ruled on Sunday to delay further proceedings in Ehud
Olmert’s defamation lawsuit against Moshe Lador, in order for the court to hear
the state prosecutor’s request to appeal against a ruling denying him immunity
As a result of the ruling, Lador does not now need to
file a defense response to Olmert’s lawsuit. However, after Judge Eitan
Orenstein said he would not make any decision regarding Lador’s immunity, it is
possible that the matter will be taken to the Supreme Court.
RELATED:Court refuses to grant Lador immunity in Olmert libel suit
there is a possibility the claim will require clarification in an evidentiary
hearing and that it will be decided in a ruling,” the judge said.
former prime minister is suing Lador for defamation following remarks the state
prosecutor made in a February interview with left-leaning Hebrew daily
In the Haaretz
interview, the state prosecutor described a
$75,000 loan Olmert had allegedly received from American businessman Josef
Elmaliach in 1993 as “extraordinarily scandalous,” and claimed Olmert had yet to
return the money.
The former prime minister, who is currently standing
trial in the Jerusalem District Court on a string of corruption allegations, all
of which he strongly denies, said that Lador’s remarks about an ongoing lawsuit
could affect the trial because they would be heard by the judges hearing the
“Mr. Lador’s extensive references to an ongoing proceeding in Mr.
Olmert’s affairs and another ongoing investigation, which is awaiting Lador’s
decision [the Holyland Affair], combined with what he said about the loan Mr.
Olmert received from Mr.
Elmaliach, severely violated Mr. Olmert’s basic
rights as a suspect and an accused party, and defamed him,” the lawsuit
“The right of suspects to due process is a basic one, an
indivisible part of their right to dignity and freedom.”
After the Tel
Aviv Magistrate’s Court refused Lador’s request to throw Olmert’s lawsuit out –
and even criticized Lador for his Haaretz
interview – the state asked the court
to grant him immunity from prosecution on the grounds that he is a public
servant. When the Magistrate’s Court ruled against that request last month, the
Justice Ministry requested permission to appeal the verdict. The ministry said
that, according to tort laws, public servants have immunity from lawsuits over
actions carried out in the line of duty.
Olmert is demanding Lador and
pay him NIS 150,000 in damages. The former prime minister’s lawyers have
said that if he wins the suit the money will be donated to the Bialik-Rogozin
School in south Tel Aviv.
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