Olmert's request to further postpone procedure due to medical condition "nonsense," justice says.
By DAN IZENBERGPublished: MAY 27, 2009 11:11Advertisement
The state informed the High Court of Justice on Wednesday that it had agreed to schedule the hearing for former prime minister Ehud Olmert regarding the Rishon Tours affair for August 15.
A panel of three justices, headed by Edmond Levy, made clear to Olmert's lawyer, Eli Zohar, that the date was reasonable and that they would not intervene in the state's decision.
Zohar had petitioned the court to order Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to schedule the hearing for September 15-17.
Levy chastised Zohar for bringing the matter to court rather than reaching an agreement directly with the state prosecution.
"I don't want to conduct a lengthy hearing," he told the lawyer. "It would be a waste of time for all of us. This case has stolen time from hearings on two criminal appeals, and I am not sure this should have happened."
Justice Miriam Na'or added, "We think this is a waste of time. The [attorney-general's] offer is fair. It's fine. Accept it."
Zohar said the defense was still receiving investigative material from the prosecution and could not prepare its arguments without studying additional material. He also pointed out that US businessman Moshe Talansky, a key witness in another affair in which Olmert is facing a possible indictment, has still not completed his pre-trial testimony in the Jerusalem District Court.
To this, Justice Asher Grunis said, "You do not have to receive all the material. Nowhere does it say that the state must give you all the material. I am sure you have a lot of it. Accept their offer. They have taken the special situation [Olmert's pending operation to remove a malignant growth in his prostate] into consideration. We have to put an end to this."
Zohar also argued that in all fairness to Olmert, the state should complete two investigations that are still pending and decide whether they intend to indict him on these matters before beginning any of the hearings.
The state's representative, attorney Dana Briskman, accused Olmert and Zohar of trying to delay the trial as long as possible. After the hearing, Zohar denied this. "We are not trying to waste time," he said.
"On the other hand, the hearing must not just be pro forma, and the pressure that the state is exerting on this matter gives us an uncomfortable feeling."
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