A-G Weinstein defends handling of Liberman case

Attorney-general fights back against criticism of his decision to close the main money-laundering case against former FM.

May 27, 2013 13:07
1 minute read.
FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER Avigdor Liberman stands in court, April 30, 2013

Liberman in court 370. (photo credit: Emil Salman/Pool)

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Monday slammed critics of his decision in December to close the main money-laundering case against Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman.

Weinstein made his comments at an Israel Bar Association Conference in Eilat.

He said, "it seems to me, in all humility, that I can recognize an 'acquittal case' when I see one."

Noting that he spent most of his career as a leading defense lawyer, Weinstein pushed back hard against critics who said that he was too timid in only indicting Liberman for the Belarus Ambassador Affair.

In one recent public war of words, Avia Aleph, recently retired from her post as the state's head of the economic crimes department, attacked the decision to close the main Liberman case in an interview with Haaretz, stating that "Weinstein avoided making decisions" and dragged his feet in ways which negatively impacted the cases.

She also implied that Weinstein might not have even filed the indictment in the the Belarus Ambassador Affair had many senior prosecution officials not pushed "stubbornly." 

In explaining his position further, Weinstein dived into a hot internal debate among state prosecutors: whether the state should aggressively file “borderline” cases which have a chance of conviction, but significant issues, or whether only cases with very high chances of conviction should be filed.

He said that the prosecution “cannot pass on its responsibility to the arena of the courthouse based on the assumption and the hope” that the court will “decide for it regarding borderline cases which raise concerns.”

“This approach of passing on responsibility” is “not acceptable to me, it conceals the heavy damage caused to defendants and to the law enforcement establishment itself,” he said. 

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