Court orders police to return Olmert documents

Former prime minister denied two chapters of own book, warned by Justice Ministry not to bypass censor office

Former PM Ehud Olmert  (photo credit: AMIT SHABAY/POOL)
Former PM Ehud Olmert
(photo credit: AMIT SHABAY/POOL)
The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court has ordered the police to return documents they seized from Yediot Aharonot’s book publisher, with the exception of those pertaining to two chapters in a book that is currently being written by imprisoned former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
Police raided the book-publishing offices last week after Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit authorized a preliminary review to examine if Olmert leaked classified documents while writing his prison memoirs. Mandelblit will decide if a full criminal investigation is needed.
The 1,400-page memoirs and around 11,000 related emails were taken by police during the search in the publishers’ offices in Rishon Lezion. However, the court ruled the police must return all the documents that do not pertain to two chapters from the book which contain classified information, attorney Paz Moser, who represents Yediot Aharonot, said.
According to the court’s decision on Thursday, the police are required to return by next Thursday the vast majority of the unrelated materials they seized.
On Thursday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called the police documents seizure a “disturbing event.”
“It’s very disturbing to me, we want to protect the public’s right to know and freedom of expression,” Erdan told Army Radio, adding that at the end of the investigation there should be a debate as to whether the police’s actions were justified.
A spokesman for the Lahav 433 investigative unit, which seized the documents, said the police had taken them from a computer “and afterward it became clear that some of the information was not related [to the Olmert case].”
The probe into Olmert’s memoirs started in May after the former premier’s lawyer was caught with the allegedly classified materials in his possession following a visit with Olmert. The Prisons Service subsequently denied the former prime minister access to public phones and vacations.