Olmert’s lawyers can keep Zaken CD, court rules

Among other things, the disc contains copies of Zaken’s e-mail correspondence with Olmert.

Ehud Olmert (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ehud Olmert
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday issued an order permitting former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s lawyers to continue to review the private CD of Shula Zaken which the state accidentally gave them last week in an embarrassing oversight.
Among other things, the disc contains copies of Zaken’s e-mail correspondence with Olmert.
The court also ordered Olmert’s lawyers to return the CD to the state by Sunday, but left the door open for them to request the state to provide them with portions of the disc again.
In that case, his lawyers would need to overcome the state’s objection that the disc contained Zaken’s private dealings and confidential communications with her lawyer by proving it contained evidence that could help Olmert’s defense.
Prosecutor Uri Korb claimed that the Zaken CD contains Olmert’s admission of illegally using funds he received – an admission that would contradict his testimony.
Last week the state announced that it had mistakenly given Olmert’s lawyers the wrong CD among evidence submitted in the retrial of the Talansky Affair and accused Olmert’s lawyers of improperly reviewing the disc, while filing two emergency requests for an injunction against Olmert’s lawyers – all in under 24 hours.
The first trial of the case led to Olmert’s resignation in 2008, though he was eventually acquitted in July 2012.
The retrial came about in light of explosive new evidence revealed in audio tapes provided by Olmert’s powerful former bureau chief, Zaken.
Olmert was sentenced in May to six years in prison for his bribery conviction in the separate Holyland trial (though that sentence has been put on hold pending his appeal) and could have more prison time added if convicted in the retrial of the Talansky Affair.
The Talansky Affair involved Olmert allegedly receiving large amounts of cash from New York businessman Morris Talansky between 1993 and 2005, not reporting them to the state comptroller, hiding them in confidant Uri Messer’s safe, and not being able to account for some of the money.
According to the state, the Zaken tapes show that Olmert used illegal means to pressure her into refusing to testify and refusing to cooperate with the prosecution.