(photo credit: Courts Administration)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein said on Wednesday that he is closing the case against Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger, on grounds of lack of guilt.
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The police had also recommended that the case be closed for lack of guilt, which means the evidence in the case leaves no room for reasonable doubt regarding a suspect’s innocence.
However, State Prosecutor Moshe Lador had recommended that the case be closed for lack of evidence, which would have likely led to Danziger being forced to retire from his position as a Supreme Court justice.
In July, Weinstein allowed Danziger to be questioned under caution over the so-called “Lahiani Affair,” making him the first sitting Supreme Court justice in Israeli history to be questioned under caution as part of a criminal investigation.
Danziger immediately informed Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch that he was taking a leave of absence, and since then has returned to limited duties. Following Weinstein’s announcement, he will be able to return to his full duties in the Supreme Court.
Mayor Lahiani was arrested in 2009, and the allegations listed in the charge sheet include fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and theft by a public official by using public money to pay personal speeding fines.
Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Danziger’s private law firm, Danziger, Kladsbald & Co, had been hired by the Bat Yam municipality.
Danziger was investigated regarding the circumstances of his law office’s appointment by the Bat Yam municipality, and in connection with legal services he provided to Lahiani, as well as the integrity of the relationship in question.
Among other things, police had suspected that Danziger may have helped Lahiani fraudulently obtain bank credit by concealing the identity of the beneficiaries.
However, in a detailed statement on Wednesday, Weinstein said that after thoroughly examining the evidence he was convinced that Danziger did not grant any benefit to Lahiani during his term as mayor, and that the case against Danziger should therefore be closed for lack of guilt.
The attorney-general noted that a preliminary investigation had been conducted before the decision to investigate Danziger, and that a comprehensive review of all the evidence had been carried out by senior officials in the State Attorney’s Office, the Justice Ministry and the police.
Weinstein emphasized that the review was not in order to apply different standards to Danziger, but “with some caution...
at the wider implications of any decision to try a Supreme Court Justice.”