Ruth David, the former head of the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office, who was already indicted in a massive bribery scandal, did not commit any crimes for which she can be indicted while in office, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit decided on Tuesday.
As head of the District Attorney’s Tel Aviv office from 2002-2010, David was one of the most powerful prosecutors in the country. Those who occupy her office are under consideration for heading the entire national prosecutorial apparatus.
Mandelblit indicated that his predecessor, Yehuda Weinstein, had already made a similar decision to Tuesday’s on December 15, but did not have time to fully write-up that decision, leaving Mandelblit to determine whether to affirm or reject the decision.
In a rare public explanation of the decision, Mandelblit said that he backed Weinstein’s analysis that even if there was potential criminal evidence against David for her actions while running the Tel Aviv office, the evidence was not reasonably sufficient for a conviction, and certain crimes were no longer relevant for legal action because of the statute of limitations on older incidents.
The potential charges against David include that she received valuable presents from defense lawyers which was “problematic and did not meet the norms of conduct expected from a prosecutor, let alone from such a senior prosecutor.”
However, even as the gifts imposed a cloud of impropriety, Mandelblit ultimately found that David was not involved at the time in cases related to those who gave her the gifts, and that the gifts she received while in office – flowers, valuable pens and other trinkets – were not of substantial value.
In contrast, she was given a clock worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, however this gift was received only after she left office (or, at least there was no proof she received it earlier), which would make it permissible.
In May, in one of the country’s most massive bribery scandals reaching top law enforcement officials, David, a top police investigator, a famous lawyer and powerful businessmen were all indicted by the Police Investigations Department in the Jerusalem District Court.
That indictment relates to criminal activities allegedly perpetrated by David after she left public office.
Those indicted besides David include: former police commander Supt. Eran Malka, well-known lawyer Ronel Fisher and businessmen Yair Biton, Shai Beras, Yosef Nachmias and Aviv Nachmias.
Leading up to David’s indictment, which was personally approved by Weinstein and State Attorney Shai Nitzan, Nitzan referred to such a high level law enforcement official being part of a bribery scandal as “without precedent.”
David retired from public service in recent years and in 2013 joined Fisher’s law firm.
At the time of filing the indictment, the Justice Ministry also announced that Weinstein had approved of an initial investigation by police on whether David acted improperly in any cases between 2002-2010, when she was head of the Tel Aviv office.
Tuesday’s decision closes that saga, which could have led to a range of additional embarrassments for the state prosecution.
Malka, sentenced in September to eight years in prison in a plea bargain, was a high-level investigator in the police, and Fisher had represented top police commanders like Dep.-Ch.
Ephraim Bracha and power-brokers like Ashdod Port union head Alon Hassan.
The 29-page indictment states that Malka, in his capacity as a top investigator, gathered a variety of secrets relating to Lahav 443 National Fraud department investigations, both those he was running and those run by his colleagues.
Malka was privy to some of the state’s most sensitive intelligence secrets, whose exposure could severely harm the public interest, the indictment said.
Fisher, the indictment noted, under the veil of his prominence in the legal community and his many connections, used the information he received to frustrate and obstruct ongoing investigations of his clients.
David was charged with obstruction of justice in two different cases, as well as of receiving assets were obtained through a felony.
One major case mentioned by the indictment was a 2012 classified investigation, in which Malka was involved, of now-imprisoned crime boss Yitzhak Aberjil, Biton and his associates.
Fisher was Biton’s lawyer at the time, and both Fisher and David were friendly with Biton.
In 2013 and part of 2014, Malka provided Fisher with significant classified information to help him fend off charges against Biton.
In March 2014, Fisher met with David and illegally reviewed the classified material they had received, to strategize about how Biton could beat the investigation and interrogation.
Fisher and David then flew to Budapest to meet with Biton and illegally revealed to him the classified information they had obtained, which David carried in an envelope.
They did the same with Biton again on April 30, 2014.