Watch: Olmert responds to sentence; 'I'm innocent'

Speaking outside the Supreme Court following his partially-successful appeal, former PM says he accepts 18-month sentence.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

אולמרט בבית המשפט העליון
אולמרט בבית המשפט העליון
צילום: נועם מושקוביץ

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has maintained his innocence of all charges of bribery, in a statement to journalists outside the Supreme Court this morning, but says he accepts the court's ruling to jail him for 18 months for corruption.

A tired-looking Olmert, who will become the first former Israeli PM to go to prison when he begins his prison term on February 15 next year, noted that the court had acquitted him of the more serious charges - an alleged half-million bribe in the so-called Holyland corruption scandal, which would have earned him a far higher sentence of six years.

"A heavy weight was removed from my heart when the Supreme Court ruled that I am not guilty of the main crime - the Holyland affair," he said. "That was, for me, a dark and painful cloud over my head and over my family - my children, my grandchildren, and all those close to me - for a long time."

But of his conviction for accepting a separate 60,000 shekel ($15,000 US) bribe, he said he maintained his innocence.

"I have previously said that I was never offered and I never received bribes, and I say this again today. Though naturally, and in accordance with my faith and my conduct throughout my life, I respect the decision of the Supreme Court justices."

See the video above for the full statement and subsequent brief Q&A.