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(photo credit: AP [file])
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert's attorneys said Tuesday night that their client has waived the right to a hearing in the various legal cases against him, after Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz denied their request that the hearing be held by a third party and not by Mazuz and State Attorney Moshe Lador.
Raz Nizri, as senior assistant to Mazuz, wrote a letter to Olmert's legal team Tuesday in which he called their request an obvious attempt at foot-dragging.
"There is no basis to your claims that there is some obstruction to hold a hearing for your client, Mr. Olmert, before the attorney-general and the state attorney," Nizri wrote, "and we outright reject your demand that the hearing be held by an 'external party.'"
"This is another obvious step in your attempts at postponement, foot-dragging, and perhaps beyond that, since the start of the process," Nizri added.
This, he said, followed "previous actions by your client, including delays in the investigations, the delay of the hearing scheduled for April of this year, and the futile attempt to petition the High Court of Justice on this issue, which ended with unequivocal statements by the court."
Judges had at the time described Olmert's request to hold the hearing in September instead of August as "a waste of time."
The cases which are awaiting a hearing are the Rishon Tours affair, the Talansky cash envelopes affair and the Investment Center case.
Earlier on Tuesday, the former premier's lawyers wrote a letter to Mazuz stating that since state prosecutors had already filed an indictment against Olmert's former external affairs assistant Rachel Rizby-Raz in the Rishon Tours case, they did not have faith that a fair hearing would be held for their client with prosecutors.
In the Rishon Tours affair, Olmert has been accused of double-billing charities and a government ministry for the same flights, sending them false receipts for travel expenses, and using the excess to pay for personal family travel.
The former prime minister's lawyers also claimed that there was a conflict of interest because Lador had already announced that he was personally responsible for another of the corruption cases against Olmert - the Talansky affair. In that case, Olmert is suspected of receiving illegal cash payments from a Jewish American financier.
In the Investment Center case, Olmert is suspected of a conflict of interest by participating in applications for government grants made by the clients of a close friend.
Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.
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