Prosecution asks court: Declare Messer a hostile witness

Ehud Olmert's one-time attorney allegedly contradicted himself in statements to police, courts in Holyland corruption affair.

March 29, 2011 16:55
2 minute read.
Ori Messer

ori messer low quality 311. (photo credit: Channel 10 )

The prosecution in the "Talansky affair" against Ehud Olmert has requested the Jerusalem District Court to declare Olmert's one-time attorney and close friend Uri Messer a hostile witness after what he said during his testimony in court allegedly contradicted police investigation results.

The prosecutor, Uri Korev, claimed that Messer lied in his statements in court, and requested that he be able to cross-examine Messer once more as a hostile witness.

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Messer's attorneys, Shimon Dolan and Dror Metitihu, responded to the allegations against him, saying that Messer would not comment nor be interviewed about the issue. They added that "Messer gave his version of the case before the courts based on fact, gave them according to the best of his memory, and will continue to do so. His evidence is clear and balanced that does not contradict past statements, and we therefore regret the prosecution chosen position."

Olmert's publicity adviser Amir Dan also commented on the claims made against Messer, saying that prosecutors predictably declare a witness hostile when he does not fall into line with the complete picture that the prosecution attempts to portray.

Judges in the case had not yet decided whether they would accept the prosecution's request to declare Messer a hostile witness. If accepted, Messer's statements during the police investigation would have to be submitted to the court in addition to his testimony in court.

Olmert allegedly granted favors to Messer, who, in statements last week in court, said that he helped Olmert "without compensation," and that he simply held Olmert's funds in a trust. Dan had said that according to Messer's statements, it was proven that "there was no secret cashbox as has been claimed."

Earlier Tuesday, Messer himself had said that one of the witnesses in the prosecution former head of the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry's Investment Center Shmuel Mordechai, be prosecuted as a hostile witness after he threatened to take revenge on the former prime minister.

"After he left, Mordechai sent me messages [saying] that he still had a score to settle with Olmert - and testified to that under oath," Messer told the court.

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert, along with a list of other elected officials at the Jerusalem Municipality, are facing trial on charges of allegedly receiving bribes as Jerusalem mayor and as a government minister in exchange for promoting Jerusalem’s massive Holyland real estate development.

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