Olmert's attorneys ask Mazuz for hearing by external judge panel

Ehud Olmert's attorneys on Tuesday requested that Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz allow a hearing for the former premier to be held by an external panel of judges, headed by a retired judge. According to Israel Radio, the lawyers wrote a letter to Mazuz stating that since state prosecutors had already filed an indictment against Olmert's former external affairs assistant Rachel Rizby-Raz in the Rishon Tours affair, they did not have faith that a fair hearing would be held for their client. They also claimed that there was a conflict of interest because State Attorney Moshe Lador had already announced that he was personally responsible for the Talansky affair. Olmert's aides told Israel Radio that if Mazuz refuses to grant him the external hearing, he would waive his right for a hearing in the Rishon Tours, Talansky and Investment Center cases.