PM not seeking early Talansky cross-examination

Olmert's lawyers say they need the time before July 17 to study 35 files containing evidence gathered by police.

Talansky  media 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Talansky media 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will not ask to move forward the date set for the cross-examination of the prosecution's star witness, Morris Talansky, following a consultation on Sunday with his lawyers. At the request of Olmert's attorneys, the Jerusalem District Court set the date set for the resumption of Talansky's testimony for July 17. However, Olmert was concerned by the public impact of Talansky's testimony under questioning by State Attorney Moshe Lador on May 27 and urged his lawyers to consider moving up the date of their cross-examination to present his side of the story. At least three of the prime minister's lawyers, Eli Zohar, Ro'i Blecher and Ron Shapira, advised him to be patient on Sunday. They told him they needed the time to properly prepare for the cross- examination since they must study 35 files containing evidence gathered by the police so far during the investigation. According to the Internet news site News First Class, attorney Nevot Tel-Tzur disagreed with these colleagues. Tel-Tzur was unavailable for comment. According to the site, he felt that the damage in the political and public opinion spheres could be decisive in leading to an indictment and, therefore, Olmert had to act speedily to contain the damage. Olmert is suspected of accepting money illegally. Potential charges mentioned by the prosecution include fraud and breach of faith, tax evasion and violation of the "gifts law," preventing public servants from accepting anything more than a token gift. The lawyers and Olmert will continue to consider the matter of Talansky's cross-examination in accordance with developments in the field. In the political sphere, for example, it is not clear at this point whether Shas and the Labor Party would back an opposition bid to push a bill through parliament calling for new elections. There have also been reports that the demand to choose a new party leader for Kadima by holding a party primary as quickly as possible has been stalled while two would-be Olmert successors, Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz and Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit, try to recruit more supporters to the party.