The State Prosecutor's Office appealed on Wednesday to the Supreme Court over the verdict of the Jerusalem District Court in the case of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his office manager, Shula Zaken.
The prosecution also appealed the sentence given to Olmert for the one offense of which he was found guilty – breach of trust.
In July, the Jerusalem District Court found Olmert guilty on charges of breach of trust but acquitted him on more serious indictments of double-billing and receiving cash from American-Jewish businessman Moshe Talansky.
Olmert was given a relatively light sentence. He was slapped by the court with a fine of less than $18,000 and was given a one-year suspended jail sentence. The court did not accept the prosecutor’s request that Olmert serve six months in community service.
The prosecution clarified in the appeal that if Olmert’s verdict is overturned and he is found guilty on some of the other charges, it would seek an appropriate punishment for these offenses as well.
It is not yet clear whether the appeal will affect Olmert’s decision about running the upcoming election. It has been previously speculated that if Barack Obama wins the presidential elections in the United States, as has indeed happened, Olmert would announce he is running.
Olmert’s media adviser, Amir Dan, said on Wednesday evening, "This is another stage in the unrestrained journey of persecution that the prosecution has been holding against Olmert. The appeal is an expression of complete non-confidence in one of the most veteran compositions of judges in the district courts in Israel, which examined all the evidence for four years and acquitted Olmert, while criticizing the conduct of the prosecution. This process has no justification other than the restoration of the damaged ego of the prosecution.”
Dan added that Olmert is not afraid of the appeal.
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel welcomed the appeal and stated that "the Supreme Court must have its say so that worthy people can be in the public arena.”
The Legal Forum’s director, Nachi Eyal, said that “the District Court’s verdict that legalized the cash envelopes that Olmert received cannot be the final word in the case. There are basic norms which cannot be overlooked in a civilized country and it is good that the Supreme Court will have its say in the matter.”