Olmert in court on day of sentencing, May 13.
(photo credit: YOTAM RONEN)
The police on Thursday recommended to the prosecution that it file a new indictment against former prime minister Ehud Olmert for illegally pressuring his former chief of staff Shula Zaken regarding cooperating with the state in the 2012 Jerusalem corruption trial and the recently decided Holyland trial.
If State Attorney Shai Nitzan decides to file the indictment, it would be the third case – and fifth “affair,” since the 2012 case included three different affairs – against Olmert and a new legal front that he would have to defend.
On Tuesday, the state, by special motion of Nitzan, requested the Supreme Court to remand the Talansky Affair allegations against former prime minister Ehud Olmert to the Jerusalem District Court for a partial retrial.
The move had been expected since the state struck a plea bargain deal with Olmert’s former chief-of-staff Shula Zaken, but was still a highly dramatic development in Olmert’s continuing legal battles.
In Olmert’s worst case scenario, it could lead to a reversal of his acquittal, a new conviction and potentially even some more jail time on top of the six-year prison sentence he received on bribery convictions in the separate Holyland Affair in the Tel Aviv District Court.
The Talansky Affair allegedly involved Olmert receiving large amounts of cash in envelopes, not reporting them to the state comptroller, hiding them in confidante Uri Messer’s secret safe and some of the funds completely disappearing.
The state said that the Jerusalem District Court should hear new evidence from Zaken to introduce two cassette tapes and her journal into evidence.
Its request indicated that the tapes, from May 2011 – just before Olmert started to testify on the Talansky Affair – and October 2012 – three months after the court acquitted him in the Talansky Affair – show that Olmert used illegal means to pressure Zaken into refusing to testify or cooperate with the state.
Those means allegedly included a variety of pressures and also offering to get her legal expenses paid by associates.
Zaken’s journal could be a crucial piece of evidence against Olmert. The court had refused to review her journal’s contents since she would not testify.
Notably, the state did not ask to reopen evidence in the Rishon Tours Affair, involving alleged Olmert double billing for reimbursement for travel expenses, of which Olmert was acquitted by the Jerusalem District Court in July 2012.
The state said it still believed that acquittal could be reversed on the record already before the Supreme Court.