The state attorney on Wednesday decided not to seek a court
classification of moral turpitude for Olmert's conviction in the
Investment Center affair, since the former prime minister does not
intend to return to public office.
A decision to classify Olmert's conviction as moral turpitude would
effectively end his political career, barring him from public office for
seven years, as well as stripping him of benefits afforded former prime
ministers, including an office, staff, phone, car, driver and related
The state stressed that it continues to believe that
Olmert's actions in the affair were deserving of moral turpitude.
However, as long as Olmert does not intend to return to
public office, it will postpone this aspect of the hearing.
Olmert was acquitted by the Jerusalem District Court
of a list of the most serious charges against him in July, but was
convicted of violating the public trust in the Investment Center affair.
The main reason the initially state gave for seeking moral turpitude
was that Olmert violated conflict of interest principles on an
The conviction in the Investment Center
affair is based on claims that Olmert – then industry, trade and labor
minister – granted favors to Uri Messer which were illegal and violated
conflict of interest principles. Messer was Olmert’s longtime friend and
former partner who applied to the Investment Center for state grants
and other benefits.
During the hearing, former head of the
Jerusalem district Attorney's Office Eli Abarbanel, said that though
Olmert should get jail time, he would only seek six months of community service. The
state attributed this leniency to the fact that this was the first time a
prime minister has fallen from public office due to criminal
allegations, which in itself constitutes a big punishment. The attorney
maintained that Olmert's actions were very grave violations of the
public trust, even if the state did not lose money in the end.