Tags: Olmert | trial | may | israel

Trial of Ex-Israeli PM Delayed Until May

Thursday, 08 Apr 2010 11:02 PM

JERUSALEM - The Jerusalem District Court agreed on Thursday to postpone the hearings in the trial of former prime minister Ehud Olmert and his close aide Shula Zaken until May 5, at which time the court will begin hearing testimony on the Rishon Tours affair.

In doing so, the court accepted the request of the state to change the order of the hearings and partially rejected the defense's request to postpone the trial until the state completes its investigation of a new affair involving several of the leading figures in the current trial.

The court also acquiesced to a request by attorney Navit Negev to postpone the trial by a month because of personal circumstances that she did not disclose.

As he began a trip abroad involving business and other affairs, Olmert's trial resumed on Thursday morning, overshadowed by the arrest of attorney Uri Messer on suspicion of taking part in an unprecedented real estate bribery scam.

According to investigators, land developers allegedly paid large bribes to public officials to gain approval for projects built by the Holyland real estate company in Jerusalem and associated development projects in the North.

According to police suspicions, between 1999 and 2008, the Holyland company and other land development companies, then owned by businessman Hillel Charni, paid tens of millions of shekels in bribes to senior decision-makers.

Olmert's attorney, Eli Zohar, spoke to reporters before the hearing, saying he has experienced many legal events which began with loud trumpeting but ended up being insignificant. He said he hoped that would be the case regarding the new investigation that was made public yesterday.

Zohar complained that this new affair would disrupt the proceedings in a trial that was going along in an orderly way and should have continued to do so.

The state has asked to reverse the order of the hearing of the charges against his client.

Meanwhile, Olmert’s spokesman, Amir Ban, told reporters in response to questions that the former prime minister had no intention of changing his travel plans. Ban said the police had not ordered Olmert to return and that there was no reason for him to do so. He is due to return to Israel at the end of next week.

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JERUSALEM - The Jerusalem District Court agreed on Thursday to postpone the hearings in the trial of former prime minister Ehud Olmert and his close aide Shula Zaken until May 5, at which time the court will begin hearing testimony on the Rishon Tours affair.
Olmert,trial,may,israel
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2010-02-08
Thursday, 08 Apr 2010 11:02 PM
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