State rejects Ramat Gan Mayor's claims to escape trial

Zvi Bar, mayor for 24 years, previously filed denial of bribery, fraud charges; tried to torpedo case entirely.

June 24, 2013 17:49
2 minute read.
Zvi Bar, mayor of Ramat Gan.

Zvi Bar 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The state asked the Tel Aviv District Court on Monday to reject a request by Ramat Gan Mayor Zvi Bar to end his case before going to trial.

In early June, Bar, who has served as mayor for 24 years, filed a denial of the charges against him, and made a number of pre-trial claims to try to torpedo the case entirely. Bar is accused of bribery, fraud and other charges.

In his pre-trial claims, Bar said his case should be thrown out because Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein did not personally oversee his pre-trial hearing with the prosecution.

In some cases, such as those involving public officials, the prosecution gives the defense a pre-trial hearing to try to convince it to drop the case before filing an indictment. Bar received this hearing, but it was presided over by the state’s head prosecutor, Moshe Lador, who is Weinstein’s No. 2 on prosecutorial decisions, and not Weinstein himself.

Bar also complained that the charges he defended at the pre-trial hearing were different than those the prosecution included in the indictment, and therefore the the state should have given him another hearing before filing the charges.

The state responded that in 2004, former attorney-general Menahem Mazuz delegated authority for presiding over the prosecution’s pre-trial hearings to the head prosecutor.

While Bar claimed this delegation of authority was limited to Mazuz’s term, the state said that an attorney-general’s delegation of authority is permanent until revoked and is connected to the office of the attorney-general, regardless of whether the individual filling the role changes. Since the delegation of authority for Lador to preside over the hearings was never revoked, Lador had authority to preside and Bar’s rights were not violated.

The state did not view as valid Bar’s argument that he should get special treatment by having Weinstein preside over the hearing.

Next, the state said there were no major changes in the charges presented to Bar before the indictment versus in the indictment itself. The essence of the case, the charge for bribery, has remained the same, and all that was added was more detail, said the state.

Finally, the state said the trial must go forward on four of the five charges no matter what the court rules on Bar’s arguments, stating that the arguments only refer to the bribery charge and mostly not to the other four charges.

If the court accepts the state’s arguments, the trial will go forward. If the court accepts Bar’s arguments, some or all of the charges could be dropped, though it appeared unlikely that all would be dismissed.

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