The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday convicted two lawyers of improper conduct for helping – with mysterious fund transfers – a client who ordered the murder of a judge.
The ruling could have wide-ranging implications in placing a greater duty on lawyers to question their clients’ requests, if the requests appear suspicious, even if lawyers have no definite information that the requests involve illegality.
The two lawyers are Sagiv Bar Shalom and Mor Garti, both of whom have represented Yitzhak Zuziashvili, who is serving prison time for ordering the murder of Tel Aviv judge Adi Azar in July 2004.
The court cited the original 2010 ethics complaint against the two by the Israel Bar Association as stating that they may have acted as middlemen for transferring funds between Zuziashvili and the man he hired to kill Azar.
The case came to the court on an appeal by the Bar’s ethics committee to reverse the lawyers’ 2014 acquittals by the national court for lawyer ethics and to reinstate their convictions by the lower regional court for lawyer ethics.
The appeal also sought to stiffen the lawyers’ original suspensions – of three to six months – from working as lawyers.