Prosecution to Appeal Olmert's Verdict
The Prosecution has decided to appeal to the Supreme Court over the Jerusalem District Court's decision to acquit former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on charges of accepting at least $150,000 in cash from American businessman Moshe Talansky, Channel 2 News reported on Monday.
The decision was made hours after the Court imposed a light sentence on Olmert who was convicted of breach of trust: a fine of less than $18,000 and a one-year suspended jail sentence. The Court did not accept the prosecutor’s request that Olmert serve six months in community service.
According to Channel 2, after many discussions the Prosecution decided it would appeal the Court's decision on the Talansky affair. The prosecution will only appeal the Court’s legal interpretation of the facts and findings of the trial, the report said.
Meanwhile, Prosecution officials are still grappling with the question of whether to also appeal Olmert’s not guilty verdict on charges of “double billing” from a travel agency. In any case, Prosecution officials said that if the Supreme Court overturns the District Court’s ruling, they will also ask that a harsher sentence be imposed on Olmert.
Olmert’s attorneys criticized the Prosecution’s intention to appeal their client’s verdict, claiming that the former Prime Minister was being persecuted. Attorney Eli Zohar told Army Radio on Monday, “If an appeal is filed it will confirm the feeling that there is persecution.”
Attorney Navot Tel Tzur, another member of Olmert's defense team, added, “Anyone who dreams of appealing – this will be interpreted as persecution. That's it.”
Nationalist politicians responded to the relatively light sentence in Olmert's trial by criticizing the Court for being “toothless”.
The verdict theoretically means that Olmert could return to politics. However, he still faces charges of bribery in the Holyland apartment project, re-zoned for construction when he was mayor of Jerusalem. That case is still being heard in court.