State asks for hearing of Holyland witness

Tel Aviv District Attorney submits request for preliminary hearing, citing need to ensure witness' health for testimony.

Holyland still on hold 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Holyland still on hold 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office submitted a request to the district court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing to hear testimony from the main state witness in the Holyland real-estate project affair.
The district attorney’s office said that it was requesting the hearing because of concerns over the witness’s health.
“Considering the scope and magnitude of the witness’s testimony... and considering the witness’s medical limitations and the need to limit the witness’s testimony to a number of hours per day, it is clear that a preliminary hearing is necessary in the the immediate future to ensure that both prosecution and defense have a chance at cross-examination while the witness remains medically fit to do so,” the request stated.
The witness is known only as “S.D.” due to a gag order protecting the witness’s name and identity at least until trial.
S.D. has provided testimony that directly led to the Holyland investigation and to indictments against three companies and 13 people, among them former prime minister Ehud Olmert. The Holyland affair has been deemed one of the largest corruption scandals in the state’s history.
According to the indictment, Holyland real-estate developers paid tens of millions of shekels to public employees and elected officials to advance the project in southern Jerusalem, including by substantially shortening planning times, smoothing over planning objections, re-zoning land and providing tax breaks.
Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report.