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Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on Monday informed the Knesset that he intended to submit an indictment against Likud MK Michael Gorlovsky for doubling voting on two separate budget votes in the plenum two-and-a-half years ago.
Mazuz acted in accordance with an amendment to the Knesset Parliamentary Immunity Law which parliament passed on July 25, canceling the original provision in the law which obliged the Attorney-General to persuade the Knesset to waive an MK's immunity before he could indict him.
According to the amendment, the onus is no longer on the Attorney-General. After informing the Knesset of his intention, he may file a criminal indictment against an MK without further ado. The MK then has 30 days to ask the Knesset to declare that his parliamentary immunity is applicable with regard to the charges leveled against him.
Before the law was changed, the Knesset Law Committee rejected two separate requests by the Attorney-General, Mazuz and his predecessor, Elyakim Rubinstein, to lift Gorlovsky's immunity. After the first committee decision, the Movement for Quality Government petitioned the High Court of Justice asking it to overturn the committee decision on the grounds that it had not been based on proper criteria. The High Court accepted the petition and made it clear that the committee ruling was improper.
Mazuz, who by then had replaced Rubinstein, resubmitted the request to lift Gorlovsky's immunity. Once again the committee rejected it and once again the MQG petitioned the court. In the meantime, however, the Knesset passed the amendment to the Parliamentary Immunity Law. The court ruled that the new law now applied, and that Mazuz no longer required Knesset permission to lift Gorlovksy's immunity.
As soon as Mazuz officially files the indictment, Gorlovsky will have 30 days to decide whether he wants to actively seek the Knesset's protection.
According to the indictment, Gorlovsky will be charged with forgery under aggravating circumstances, and fraud and breach of trust.
He was charged with having voted for himself and for his neighbor, MK Gilad Erdan, who had briefly left the Knesset plenum, during two votes on a government economic recovery plan on the night of May 28-29, 2003.
Likud MK Yehiel Hazan is also on trial in Jerusalem Magistrate's Court for having allegedly double-voted later that same night. He agreed to voluntarily lift his immunity after the Knesset House Committee rejected Rubinstein's request in his case as well.