(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Defense attorneys attacked what they called the faulty memory of the state’s
witness as the Holyland trial continued on Monday, during which
“S.D.” elaborated on his involvement in arranging buyers for different
parts of the project.
The Holyland trial, which deals with the large
Jerusalem construction project of the same name, is a massive corruption case
involving allegations against former prime minister Ehud Olmert, former
Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski, former Bank Hapoalim CEO Dan Dankner and 13
Clashes between the state’s attorneys and defense
attorneys over the method of S.D.’s testimony continued during the
Throughout the week-and-a-half of testimony by the state’s
witness, known only as S.D. due to a gag order, he has remembered most of what
occurred in the almost 15 years that he was involved in the project. He has,
however, often been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of detail necessary to prove
the state’s case against a large number of defendants, many of whom were
involved in disparate aspects of the project and at different times.
try to make its case flow better, the state has frequently resorted to
interjecting to provide S.D. with missing details and has asked to “refresh his
memory” by showing him his prior testimony before the police. These are
permitted legal tactics for helping witnesses recall details, but one with
limits that the state has pushed.
Defense attorneys continued to protest
the frequency with which the state tried to allow S.D. to review his previous
testimony to the police, arguing that if he cannot remember so many details
without assistance, the veracity of his testimony itself is
The defense attorneys also objected to what they described
as S.D.’s “hearsay” or secondhand statements about the corporation Holyland
Park’s operations, when he has only claimed in general to have worked for
Holyland Corporation and Holyland Tourism corporation.
The attorneys for
the defendants continue to be frustrated with the pace of the trial: The state
has the floor with its witness and the defense attorneys can object to questions
but not yet cross-examine him.
In terms of the substance of S.D.’s
testimony, the state’s witness discussed how he facilitated getting buyers and
large financial institutions involved with Holyland project
S.D. took credit for drafting Bank Leumi into investing in
the project even though it had, until then, left investing in real estate
largely to rival Bank Hapoalim.
During Monday’s hearing, S.D. also
recounted his negotiations with the various investors in the Holyland project
regarding his compensation for arranging bribes, buyers and generally making
sure the project moved forward.
At one point, S.D. asked for an advance
payment of $240,000, but only received $160,000, possibly foreshadowing some of
the later tensions which eventually led him to turn against his former business
colleagues and allies.