Omri Sharon to serve 7 months in jail

TA court reduces sentence by 2 months; Sharon guilty of campaign irregularities.

omri sharon in court (photo credit: AP)
omri sharon in court
(photo credit: AP)
The Tel Aviv District Court on Monday partially accepted the appeal of Omri Sharon, son of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, and reduced his jail sentence by two months. Sharon will now serve seven months after being convicted of concealing illegal contributions from secret donors to his father's 1999 campaign for leadership of the Likud. On February 13, Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court Judge Edna Bankenstein sentenced Sharon to nine months in jail, nine months suspended and a fine of NIS 300,000. He was found guilty of making false entries in the documents of a corporate body, making a false oath and violations of the Political Parties Law. On Monday, the court ruled that Sharon's jail time be reduced by two months, but that his fine of NIS 300,000 remain unchanged. The court delayed implementation of the punishment until July 22 to give Sharon's lawyers time to put in a request to the Supreme Court to appeal Monday's decision. Sharon's lawyers said they would consider doing so. "The reduction in sentence is significant [but] we think the appropriate punishment in this case is community service, not imprisonment," Sharon's attorney, Navit Negev, told Israel Radio. One of the presiding judges, Yehudit Shaitzer, voted in favor of a reduced sentence, but rejected each of the arguments the defendant gave in his appeal. Despite agreeing to a reduced jail term, Shaitzer wrote in her decision that Sharon acted out of personal interests, and that his actions were tainted with political corruption. "Sharon's actions resulted in a distortion of the will of the voter," she said. Sharon and the state had reached a plea bargain arrangement according to which he agreed to plead guilty to the two most serious charges, and the state would change two of the other charges to less serious ones. However, the two sides did not agree on what his sentence should be. His lawyer, Dan Scheinemann, insisted that his client not serve time in jail. The state insisted that he should. In his appeal, Scheinemann argued that in taking a "totally harsh approach," Bankenstein had ignored the fact that Sharon had accepted full responsibility for his actions, that he had expressed regret and that he had already paid a heavy price in the public realm for his deeds. Jerusalem Post staff and AP contributed to this report.