(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Kadima MK Tzahi Hanegbi was found guilty on the charge of perjury on Tuesday in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.
to be handed down tomorrowVerdict
awaited in Hanegbi case
The court found in a 2-1 decision that Hanegbi broke the law when he provided testimony on the 69 political appointments he made between March 2001 and February 2003, while serving as environment minister in the Sharon government.
The court, however, found him innocent on all other charges, including fraud and breach of trust, election bribery and trying to illegally influence voters.
Hanegbi could serve up to seven years in prison on the perjury and false oath charges.
He was charged with fraud, breach of trust,
election bribery, attempts to influence those with the power to vote, perjury
and making a false oath.
Hanegbi will now have to wait until September or October for his sentencing and for the key decision about whether his crime of perjury involved moral turpitude, which would force him to leave the Knesset, where he has served since 1988.
Legal experts said on Monday that the moral turpitude question would already be clear in Tuesday’s ruling. They said that a conviction for perjury would likely be deemed as tainted with moral turpitude.
If Hanegbi is forced to leave the Knesset, he would be replaced by the
next name on the Kadima candidates list, Georgian-born journalist Nino
Should Kadima MK Eli Aflalo leave the Knesset before the ruling on
Hanegbi’s moral turpitude, to become KKL/JNF cochairman, the next name
after Absadze is party activist Avner Barzani, who died recently. That
means that if both Hanegbi and Aflalo left the Knesset, academic and
former Sayeret Matkal commander Doron Avital would become an MK.
A Kadima lawmaker expressed optimism on Monday that Hanegbi would be
cleared and would win a race for the party’s leadership within a year.
But sources close to Hanegbi said he did not intend to challenge current
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni.Dan Izenberg and Mark Rebacz
contributed to this report.