Uri Messer 311.
(photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
Uri Messer, former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s longtime friend and onetime
lawyer, accused the prosecution of attempting to humiliate him on Thursday, the
final day of state witness testimony in Olmert’s corruption trial.
was livid at the state attorneys for airing video footage of his questioning by
police and accusing him of having lied to the court.
“Sure I’m angry,”
“What justification was there for the prosecution to show
that footage other than to humiliate me?” Messer claimed he had been ill and
under medication when he was interrogated by police, and that he was under
severe emotional stress.
“I have good cause to be angry. It is impossible
for the prosecutor to tell my lawyer that I gave ‘heroic’ testimony one day and
then, after cross examination, to say I lied,” he complained.
Uri Korb said he needed to show the footage to prove that Messer had been lying
when he testified earlier in the week that he did not precisely recall having
given envelopes full of money to Olmert, money that allegedly came from American
fund-raiser Morris Talansky.
The video showed Messer telling
investigators he recalled two or three occasions on which he gave envelopes
directly to Olmert, and confirming that Olmert knew there was money inside. The
footage, according to Korb, contradicted Messer’s court testimony in which he
said he assumed he had given Olmert money, but could not remember for
In previous testimony, Messer confirmed that he had kept money
for Olmert and arranged to transfer it to him in coordination with key Olmert
aide Shula Zaken, but claimed he had held the money in trust for Olmert as his
confidant and not, as the prosecution characterized it, as a “secret
On Tuesday, Korb asked the court to declare Messer a hostile
witness because of testimony that was evasive and contradictory.
judges refused his request, but allowed Korb to confront Messer with the video
Olmert’s spokesman, Amir Dan, said the prosecution had “pulled a
mean trick” and taken advantage of a publication ban to show carefully edited
footage of Messer that served its cause, but failed to show footage that exposed
Messer’s physical and mental condition at the time of the investigation,
claiming it breached his right to privacy.
Dan said Messer had told
police what they wanted to hear simply to get the investigation over
“In his testimony to the court, Messer said police had pressured
him in order to frame Olmert, and now it was continuing to humiliate him,” said
Olmert himself is expected to take the stand when the trial resumes
at the end of May.
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