State Attorney Shai Nitzan sent a letter on Tuesday to the Holyland prosecution team – which a day earlier obtained a bribery conviction against former prime minister Ehud Olmert – telling its members that they and the state could be proud they had proved that “no one is above the law.”
Earlier in the letter, Nitzan qualified this pride, saying that the day Olmert was convicted was also “a sad day for the State of Israel, when a former prime minister gets convicted for bribery, along with other public servants and businessmen.”
Nitzan added, however, that “whoever perpetrates the crime of bribery or similar corruption – he should be brought to justice and convicted.”
He praised Liat Ben-Ari, the head of the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Division; Yonatan Tadmor, the lead trial attorney in the Holyland case; and the rest of the prosecution team on “an impressive professional achievement that required tremendous investment.”
The state attorney concluded that the prosecution would “continue to be the tip of the spear in the struggle over proper conduct in Israel.”
Also on Tuesday, former top police interrogator Ziva Agmi Cohen, who was the lead questioner to face off against Olmert in the Holyland real estate corruption investigation, reflected in various media appearances on having interrogated the former prime minister.
He was charismatic, highly sophisticated, tried to get under the interrogators’ skin and tried to play mind games with them, she said.
Olmert was difficult to interrogate, but the police’s persistence was able to throw him off balance at certain points, Cohen said.
The former prime minister has degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in psychology, philosophy and law.
Meanwhile, Yossi Olmert, Ehud’s wayward brother, whose unintentional flops and problematic answers helped sink Olmert in the case, told Channel 10, “I love my brother a lot, and I was very sad to hear about the verdict.”
Yossi Olmert echoed Ehud Olmert’s legal team, saying the verdict hit him “like thunder on a clear day.”
Also, despite the police protocols of Yossi Olmert’s statements to them showing that he admitted receiving the NIS 500,000 from state witness Shmuel Duchner for which Ehud Olmert was convicted of bribery, he claimed that he had not made such admissions.
He also said the police had told him they had documentary evidence of the checks he had received, but never produced the evidence.