High Court: Delay Olmert hearings

Judge rules that for medical reasons, Rishon Tours affair hearings won't take place before May 10.

olmert before he jumped off a cliff 248. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
olmert before he jumped off a cliff 248.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The High Court of Justice decided Friday to grant a request by former prime minister Ehud Olmert's lawyers to postpone two hearings scheduled for later this month regarding the Rishon Tours affair. The lawyers had asked the court to order Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to defer the hearings, scheduled for April 19 and April 27, because Olmert is due to fly to the US on April 13 for medical treatment of his prostate cancer. Justice Miriam Naor ruled that due to Olmert's medical condition, the hearings would not take place before May 10. As well as medical reasons, Olmert's lawyers also cited the fact that Mazuz had decided to conduct a hearing before announcing his plans to indict the former prime minister over the Talansky cash envelopes affair and the Investment Center scandal. The lawyers said they now needed more time to review all the case material. In Friday's ruling, Naor ordered Mazuz to respond to the latter justification by the end of the month. On Wednesday, the state asked the High Court to reject the request. "Starting the hearing procedure [on the scheduled date] will not cause irreversible harm to the petitioner because at this stage we are talking about two sessions only," wrote the state's representative, Attorney Dana Briskman. "More hearings can be expected and in them the lawyers will be able to present additional and different arguments as they see fit." In letters to Olmert's lawyers sent earlier this month, the state maintained that it had already postponed the former prime minister's hearings three times, the latest being until after the Pessah holiday. The state also pointed out that hearings of this type are attended solely by lawyers, and that Olmert himself need not attend. Therefore, it said, the fact that Olmert may be hospitalized in the US would have no bearing.