Lador denies holding Talansky testimony was aimed at deposing PM

In a letter sent to all the lawyers in the State Attorney's Office, State Attorney Moshe Lador denied that the state's insistence on holding pre-trial testimony for Morris Talansky was aimed at forcing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign. "The claims to the effect that the aim of our request for pre-trial testimony was to 'launch a public trial' against the prime minister or 'depose him' without having to file an indictment are, obviously, absolutely unfounded," wrote Lador. Two pages of the five-page letter were devoted to the question of the pre-trial testimony, most of it a repeat of the arguments that the State Attorney's Office had raised at the time of the decision. Lador stressed that three judges of the Jerusalem District Court and three justices of the Supreme Court had backed the prosecution request. "I emphasize that from the beginning, we asked for the pre-trial testimony be held behind closed doors and, through the use of gag orders (which did not stand up for long) we tried to prevent any publication whatsoever until the end of the investigation," Lador continued. "Had [Olmert's] lawyers joined us in this request, there would have been a genuine chance that the most or all of the pre-trial testimony process would have remained inside the courtroom. At any rate, no one who was involved with the decision [to question Talansky in pre-trial testimony] - including the suspects' lawyers - accused the prosecution of having an ulterior motive." Lador also addressed the fact that he was personally representing the state in the trial. It is highly unusual for such a senior figure in the state prosecution to do so. "I did so primarily for reasons having to do with right and wrong," he told the attorneys. "In this case and in these circumstances, it was correct that I appear in court in my current position and, in so doing, take personal responsibility for the whatever results emerge from this unique procedure."