Israelis to be called as AIPAC witnesses

The three unidentified diplomats haven't yet confirmed that they will testify.

By NATHAN GUTTMAN
October 25, 2005 00:38
2 minute read.
sharon, AIPAC 298.88

sharon, AIPAC 298.88. (photo credit: GPO [file])

 
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Lawyers for the two former AIPAC staffers accused of communicating classified information, wish to call to the stand three Israeli diplomats who were in touch with the defendants. In a notice to court, filed Friday at the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, lawyers for Steve Rosen and Keith Wiessman, the former AIPAC employees who are now facing charges, declare their intention to summon the three Israelis to testify as witnesses for the defense. The three Israelis are not named, but sources close to the case have confirmed in the past that they are Naor Gilon, the former political officer in the Israeli embassy in Washington, Rafi Barak, the former Deputy Chief of Mission and a third Israeli who was not identified. "Counsel for the defendants are presently attempting to secure the appearance of these witnesses at trial, either voluntarily or pursuant to subpoena", write attorneys for the two AIPAC defendants to US judge T.S. Ellis. They state in the letter, that if a personal testimony in court will not be possible, the defense will seek depositions from the three Israelis. The letter states that early notice is given to court regarding the Israeli witnesses, because of the difficulty making sure they will actually testify. David Siegel, spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington, confirmed that the lawyers representing the embassy have received a notice from the defendants requesting the testimony and that the request is being examined. The three Israeli diplomats mentioned in the Rosen-Weissman indictment had diplomatic immunity while serving in Washington and are not obliged to appear in court. The prosecution in the case has also requested to question the Israelis about the case and has not yet finalized the method of conducting this questioning. The August indictment against the former AIPAC employees claims that Rosen and Weissman had received classified information from Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin unlawfully and passed on that information to journalists and to Israeli diplomats. Franklin, in a plea bargain, entered a guilty plea to several charges and agreed to testify against Rosen and Weissman. The trial is due to begin January 3 in the US District Court in Alexandria.

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