State will formally ask US for material on Talansky

Request to come in accordance with a law providing for mutual legal assistance.

talansky court 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
talansky court 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The state will ask the US, in accordance with a law providing for mutual legal assistance, to provide all information gathered in an American investigation of Morris Talansky that might be relevant to the Talansky Affair in Israel involving former prime minister Ehud Olmert. This is according to a brief filed by the state in Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday, which came one day after a hearing in the court on a petition by Olmert's lawyers, demanding that the state provide it with this material and do all it can to receive as much of it as possible from US authorities. The lawyers, including Eli Zohar, Ro'i Blecher, Yehuda Weinstein and Nevot Tel-Tzur, said they needed it to prepare for the resumption of Talansky's pre-trial cross-examination in Jerusalem District Court at the end of the month. Olmert is suspected of receiving illegal campaign contributions and other gifts from Talansky. The state has already informed the lawyers that it intends to indict Olmert conditional on the outcome of a hearing to be granted them. However, the date has not been set, and the lawyers and the state are still wrangling over the date of another hearing involving the Rishon Tours affair. According to the brief submitted to the court on Wednesday, the state will ask for "all the investigative material gathered by US authorities which might be relevant to the Olmert case [in Israel,] regardless of whether it helps the prosecution or the defense." The state also promised to make it clear to the American authorities that the material is required for the continuation of the cross-examination of Talansky on June 28, 2009. Jerusalem District Court President Moussia Arad must still decide whether the letter, as described in the brief, meets the court's approval. But based on comments to The Jerusalem Post by Olmert's spokesman, Amir Dan, it appears the letter will satisfy the lawyers. Dan stressed that it was only thanks to their demands that the state drafted the letter in the first place and emphasized the importance to the defense of receiving the material before June 28. He said that the defense was particularly interested in material relating to possible US investigations into money-laundering and tax evasion on Talansky's part. Meanwhile, Attorney Jacques Chen, Talansky's Israeli lawyer, told the Post that it was not certain the US would comply with the Israeli request or, if it does, when the material will arrive. The pre-trial testimony will resume as scheduled no matter what, he added.