(photo credit: .)
Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rozen surprised everyone on Tuesday, telling
Yossi Olmert, the brother of former prime minister and lead defendant Ehud
Olmert, that his story supported the state’s case against his
Rozen told Yossi that his story in which he had a meeting with
Ehud where Ehud gave him only NIS 10,000 and expressed exasperation with Yossi
who asked for help to cover his millions in debts, supported the state’s main
witness Shmuel Duchner.
Duchner, before his death on March 2, testified
that he had given Yossi NIS 500,000 by request of Ehud, as a bribe for his
cooperation in smoothing over legal and zoning problems with the Holyland real
estate project in south Jerusalem.
According to Rozen, Duchner’s earlier
giving Yossi NIS 500,000 explains why Ehud would have been so exasperated with
him and unwilling to give him more funds beyond NIS 10,000.
that Ehud’s mere NIS 10,000 especially needed explanation such as Duchner’s
story of having previously given Yossi significant funds, since Yossi protested
about how close the two brothers were.
In response, Yossi said, “I did
not come to help. I came to tell the truth and only the truth. I don’t know what
would support the story of Mr. Duchner.”
Rozen’s assertion was surprising
because everything Yossi has said until now, whether true or not, appeared to be
trying to help Ehud, as he denied Duchner’s story of having received any money
Ironically, Rozen was saying that if one believed Yossi
partially, he was unintentionally helping the state.
It was noteworthy as
a rare statement by the judge about the significance he is putting on any
individual’s testimony and how he is viewing different pieces of evidence
linking up with each other.
Yossi was testifying for the second straight
day via video conference from Washington. He is afraid to return to Israel to
face some of his creditors from the black market.
The Holyland trial
involves Ehud and 15 other defendants in what has become known as one of the
most infamous bribery and fraud cases in the country’s history.
testimony was expected to be a potential lift for the state in confirming
aspects of Duchner’s story, after the blow it received of losing Duchner as a
witness when he died.
The judge’s questioning was at the culmination of a
series of questions in which he got Yossi to admit that he would know who was
the person behind any money he was getting, even if a middleman actually gave
him the funds.
Rozen’s point appeared to be that if he chooses to believe
Duchner over Yossi, that Duchner did give Yossi NIS 500,000, he can also believe
Yossi against Ehud’s lawyer’s narrative.
Yossi would have known that
Duchner was just a front-man for Ehud, instead of that Yossi got money from
Duchner, but Ehud had nothing to do with it.
The state also made a case
that Ehud and Yossi had spoken about the case and possibly planned to coordinate
how they would respond to investigators.