Uri Messer will not stand trial, High Court rules

The investigation into Messer’s role in the affairs was dropped by the State Attorney’s Office in November for lack of hard evidence.

By RON FRIEDMAN
March 7, 2011 02:17
1 minute read.
Uri Messer will not stand trial, High Court rules

messer in his car 298. (photo credit: Channel 10)

 
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The High Court ruled on Sunday that Uri Messer, the longtime confidant and right-hand man of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, will not stand trial for his alleged involvement in the corruption scandals Olmert is currently standing trial for.

The court rejected a petition submitted by anti-corruption watchdog Ometz asking it to order the attorney-general and the Jerusalem district attorney to explain the decision not to charge Messer for his role in the corruption affairs, for which Olmert and his personal assistant Shula Zaken were indicted. The investigation into Messer’s role in the affairs was dropped by the State Attorney’s Office in November for lack of hard evidence.

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In its petition, Ometz argued that since the state’s indictments against Olmert stated that Messer played a substantial role in the transfer of funds from Morris Talansky to Olmert, including managing a “secret safe” containing Talansky’s cash, it was highly unreasonable that Messer not stand to trial too.

The petition said that Messer ought to be tried even if based only on the material that appears in Olmert’s indictment.

The state in its response asked for the petition to be rejected out of hand. The State Attorney’s Office lawyers argued that there was no room for the court to intervene in the attorneygeneral’s decision not to indict Messer, a decision that was made after a thorough examination of the evidence.

The state’s lawyers also argued that the petitioners did not sufficiently differentiate between Olmert, who was a senior public official during the relevant period, and Messer, who was a private citizen.



The three-justice panel of Asher Grunis, Salim Joubran and Neal Hendel decided, after hearing the sides, to reject the petition. In his ruling, Justice Joubran wrote that it appeared that the state had thoroughly examined and debated charging Messer, but decided against it, and that the petitioners failed to convince the court that the attorney- general’s decision was illegal or unreasonable.

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