Former prime minister Olmert and his ex-bureau chief Shula Zaken.
(photo credit: REUTERS,MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was questioned for the second consecutive day by police on Tuesday under suspicion of having obstructed justice by trying to convince his former top aide, Shula Zaken, not to cooperate with the prosecution in corruption proceedings against him.
There were reports that this was the first time Olmert was confronted with tape recordings Zaken had made of their telephone conversations as evidence of her claims against him. Following his first day of questioning Monday, in which he had not yet been confronted with the tapes, reports surfaced from anonymous sources close to Olmert that Zaken had tried to solicit and entrap him although the ex-prime minister did not take the bait.
The reports also indicated that Zaken had approached Olmert for counsel when she was offered a plea bargain by the state at a much earlier date, and he contended that anything he said to her was permitted on the principle that co-defendants can plan a joint trial strategy.
Olmert spokesman Amir Dan has blasted law enforcement officials, saying they merely want “to break Mr. Olmert at all costs and to improperly influence the arguments on sentencing.”
Olmert’s sentencing hearing is set for April 28 following his conviction for bribery in the Holyland trial.
After signing a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution, Zaken reportedly provided it with a laundry list of attempts by Olmert, some possibly on tape, to pressure her not to cooperate with the cases against him.