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‘Everyone Lost in Olmert’s Trial’

The Olmert trial left everyone a loser, from Olmert to the prosecution, to the court system itself, says Attorney Yoram Sheftel.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/13/2012, 10:40 AM

Olmert with attorney Eli Zohar
Olmert with attorney Eli Zohar
Flash 90

Everyone came out a loser in former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s trial for corruption, Attorney Yoram Sheftel told Arutz Sheva.

“Despite the cries of joy from Channel 2 and Yediot Aharonot, Olmert as a former prime minister went in innocent and came out guilty,” Sheftel said. “He can’t rejoice in that.”

“The court found that in a central, controversial part of the affair – his ties to Uri Messer – he lied,” Shefter continued. “The court rejected his version of events… It’s true that the court did not convict him of the accusations he was cleared of, and justifiably so, because not everything that is socially or ethically wrong is criminal, but his defense was completely rejected.”

Olmert’s behavior when facing charges was like that of criminal overlords, Sheftel accused. “The mob arranges things so that one person takes the charges, and if someone else was accused, the first won’t take the stand,” he explained. “That’s how Olmert acted during the trial of Ms.Shula Zaken. That’s why he was found innocent in the RishonTours affairs, because they could not use testimony from Zaken, who did not take the stand.”

The State Prosecution lost as well, Sheftel continued. “When the accused is found innocent in three of the four charges, it puts the prosecution in a bad light, and very rightly so,” he said. “Some of the prosecution’s arguments were embarrassing.”

The legal system as a whole failed, he added. “We’ve all heard and read about the pressure [on the system] and the shortage of judges, that the system is groaning under the burden,” he recalled.

“Cases like Olmert’s are constantly being heard by a single judge,” he continued. “And here, the legal system dedicated 157 sessions and 19,000 pages  to those cases - that’s 4,000 more than in the Demjanjuk trial. Three judges spent four years on this. Is this the system that claims to - and is supposed to - treat all equally?”

Sheftel clarified, “I think that the legal system acted properly in conducting Olmert’s trial the way it did, but they should stop pretending that the system treats everyone equally.”