olmert at court 311 AJ.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Citing new developments in the investigation into the “Rishon Tours” scandal, the prosecution in former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s corruption trial asked the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday morning to reverse the order of proceedings in the case.
Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel brought a motion to begin with the doubling-billing affair surrounding the embattled travel agency instead of the “cash envelopes” affair which implicated US businessman Morris Talansky.
Olmert’s attorney Eli Zohar opposed the motion vigorously, saying it would significantly compromise the defendants’ rights. He asked in response that the proceedings be halted.
In the Rishon Tours case, Olmert is accused of double-billing his trips abroad to a private account with the travel agency, using donations and money that came from the state while he served as mayor of Jerusalem, minister of industry, trade and labor, and prime minister, to finance dozens of private trips for him and his family abroad.
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The inner-workings of case are believed to be particularly complex, and
the defense would have difficulty shifting gears to respond to the
Judge Mossiah Erez criticized the motion as unprecedented, claiming
cases involving ongoing investigations had been tried before without
such requests being made.
The judges adjourned to discuss the request, but a decision was only
expected in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the deliberations are
proceeding according to the original order.
Deputy Jerusalem District Attorney Uri Korb, who had been suspended for
making insulting remarks about judges during a lecture, has been
returned to the case after making an apology. Korb started the day by
apologizing again for his undiplomatic remarks.