US prosecutors say they want to debrief Talansky

NY businessman's Israeli lawyers request his testimony here be delayed.

talansky court 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
talansky court 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
US prosecutors want to "debrief" Morris Talansky "without undue delay" in connection with the investigation he is undergoing in the United States, Talansky's Israeli lawyers Jacques Chen and Yehoshua Reznik informed Jerusalem District Court on Thursday. Talansky had been due to return to Israel to undergo further cross-examination by the lawyers representing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his close aide, Shula Zaken, next Sunday and Monday. (Olmert himself faces another round of police questioning on Friday.) Chen explained that the fact that the US prosecutors want to debrief him soon was yet another reason Talansky couldn't return to Israel at this time. Up until now, the reason Talansky had been unwilling to return was the fact that the grand jury investigation had begun on the basis of the information he had provided during his pre-trial testimony in Jerusalem. His lawyers said he would only return to Israel if the US granted him immunity from prosecution based on any further testimony. If he continued to testify without such a promise, he would be ignoring his constitutional right according to the Fifth Amendment; protecting himself from self-incrimination, the lawyers explained. Chen's request to the court for a postponement of Talansky's testimony was based on a letter he had received on Tuesday from Talansky's American lawyers, Bradley Simon and Neal Sher. They had written that "the US prosecutors indicated they will make no determination as to how or whether they will proceed with respect to their investigation of Mr. Talansky until after such a debriefing. While we are obviously reviewing the request, we have not yet made a decision as to whether or not it is in Mr. Talansky's best interest to appear." The lawyers added that the "request by the US Justice Department prosecutors is another reason why a postponement of Mr. Talansky's scheduled August 31 testimony is warranted at this time. If Mr. Talansky, upon advice of his counsel, decides to undergo a debriefing by US officials, he will need to remain in the US. Before such a debriefing takes place, we will need to spend considerable time with him to ensure that he is fully prepared." In their request to the court, Chen and Reznik added that postponing the testimony now would give the US authorities more time to decide whether or not they would grant Talansky immunity. According to the letter by Simon and Sher, the debriefing, if it takes place, will influence the decision.