The main witness in the Holyland trial was hospitalized on Thursday morning,
leading to the cancelation of proceedings.
“S.D.,” as the state’s main
witness is known under a gag order, was released from the hospital late Tuesday
afternoon, and was expected to return to testifying in court on
It is still unclear what is causing S.D.’s medical problems, for
which he has been hospitalized twice recently.
It is also unclear if
S.D.’s health situation is resolved, or only temporarily under
Before his medical difficulties, the trial had focused almost
entirely on his testimony, four days a week from 9 a.m. until the early
S.D. was previously hospitalized for over a week in mid-October, and released following the completion of various
Curiously, both of S.D.’s hospitalizations were after he had gone
through rough days of cross-examination by defense attorney Giora
The trial, which deals with one of the largest bribery and fraud
schemes in the country’s history, involves charges against former prime minister
Ehud Olmert and fifteen other defendants.
It involves public officials
moving a large deluxe residential housing project in Jerusalem forward through
the approval process while overlooking various building and zoning
During the time in which the Holyland affair allegedly took
place, Olmert was first the mayor of Jerusalem and then the minister of
industry, trade and labor.
At the time when it was still unclear if and
when S.D. would return from his first hospitalization, Tel Aviv District
Court Judge David Rozen battled with the defense attorneys over moving along
with the trial.
Rozen had wanted to push forward with hearing other
witnesses for the prosecution from morning until 8:00 p.m. at
The defense attorneys said their clients’ rights to a fair trial
would be endangered if the normal course of testifying wasn’t followed and the
trial halted until S.D. returned.
Usually, ancillary witnesses would not
be called until all of the 16 defendants’ defense attorneys had an opportunity
to cross-examine S.D.
When Rozen wouldn’t budge, but the defense
attorneys refused to conduct cross-examination of the state’s first witness other
than S.D., the court postponed the case for the defense attorneys to appeal to
the Supreme Court.
While urging Judge Rozen to seriously consider the
defense attorneys’ arguments, particularly since the state was also not
enthusiastic about moving forward without S.D., the Supreme Court upheld Rozen’s
discretion on the issue.
Both in that case and with regard to the recent
hospitalization, S.D. returned before the case became further derailed, but the
Supreme Court’s siding with Rozen means that if S.D. has any more
hospitalizations, the court’s authority to push forward is already
According to the News1 website, S.D. said that Olmert
received a total of NIS 1.5 million in bribes, but contradicted himself about
the individual amounts.
When challenged by a defense attorney over the
fact that the witness did not seem to remember anything other than the total
amount that Olmert received, the witness confirmed the accusation by responding
“Yes,” according to the report.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this