Segal-Antler’s appointment as Tel Aviv DA sparks opposition

Veteran attorney was accused of negligence in the Haim Ramon wiretapping affair; no disciplinary or administrative measures were taken against her.

November 16, 2010 02:01
3 minute read.
A gavel strikes at the issuing of justice

311_gavel. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Attorney Ariella Segal-Antler, who was accused by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss of substantial negligence in the wiretapping affair surrounding former MK Haim Ramon, was appointed on Monday as the Tel Aviv district attorney for criminal matters.

Segal-Antler was chosen by a committee appointed by the Civil Service Commission that included retired judges Yitzhak Ravivi and Edna Bankenstein, State Attorney Moshe Lador and attorney Gadi Shilo, who represented the national organization of state prosecutors.

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“After the committee heard Segal-Antler in the wake of the State Comptroller’s Report that charged her with substantial negligence regarding the handling of evidence in the Ramon affair, and after it considered the conclusions of Deputy State Attorney Michael Blass, who was appointed to examine the practical implications of the report and who determined that it did not prevent Segal-Antler from being promoted, the committee decided that she was the most appropriate candidate at this time to fill the position of Tel Aviv district attorney,” the Justice Ministry announced.

Segal-Antler, 54, is married and has two children. She began working for the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office in 1985 and was given the rank of a senior department head in 2009. During her career, she handled many criminal cases at all judicial levels and in all areas – serious crimes, rape, murder and white collar crime.

She has also been in charge of various legal forums, including one that has been studying alternatives to criminal procedures.

She is also head of a national steering committee on crime.

Segal-Antler will replace Ruth David-Blum, who was also one of four law enforcement figures accused of substantial negligence in the wiretapping affair by Lindenstrauss. The others were the police’s Dep.- Cmdr. Eran Kamin and Dep.- Cmdr. (ret.) Miri Golan.

The affair erupted during Ramon’s trial on charges that he had used force to kiss a female army officer at the prime minister’s office in Tel Aviv in June 2006. Seeking to substantiate suspicions that Ramon was trying to obstruct the investigation, the police took advantage of the fact that they had a permit to wiretap the conversations of then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s bureau chief, Shula Zaken, who was being investigated regarding another affair, to listen to Ramon’s conversations with Zaken.

The tapes and transcripts of the conversations were not handed over to Ramon’s lawyer, Dan Scheinemann, as had been required.

After the trial ended with Ramon’s conviction, two retired judges, Shalom Brenner and Vardi Zeiler, investigated the incident. Brenner concluded that the four had not deliberately withheld evidence but were guilty of “a great deal of negligence.”

Justice minister Daniel Friedmann was dissatisfied with Brenner’s conclusion and appointed Zeiler to conduct another investigation. Zeiler’s findings were harsher and he recommended appointing a government-appointed committee of investigation to examine the affair. Instead, Lindenstrauss was asked to study the matter.

Lindenstrauss’ report was also harsh. He wrote that the four were guilty of substantial negligence but had not acted maliciously. The state comptroller found that Scheinemann had asked Segal-Antler four times whether the prosecution had tapes and transcripts from Ramon’s telephone conversations. Each time she said no. Only afterwards did she find the material and hand it over to the defense attorney.

Lindenstrauss did not recommend what action should be taken against Segal-Antler and the others. Instead, Lador appointed Blass to investigate the matter and decide.

On October 19, Blass recommended that no disciplinary or administrative measures be taken and that there was no reason to prevent Segal-Antler from being given the district attorney’s job if the committee saw fit to appoint her.

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