Will former PM Olmert return to politics?

Ehud Olmert requests presidential pardon on bribery conviction.

Tags: Ehud Olmert

Ehud Olmert, in court before sentencing
Ehud Olmert, in court before sentencing

JTA - Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who spent 16 months in jail on a bribery conviction, has asked Israel’s president to pardon him in order to erase his criminal record.

Olmert made the request of President Reuven Rivlin on Monday.

A previous request for a pardon from Rivlin, while Olmert was still in prison, was turned down. Rivlin, however, lifted all parole restrictions from Olmert two days after he left prison in July. Olmert served 16 months of a 27-month sentence.

Olmert was the first Israeli prime minister to serve time in prison and be sentenced to jail. He resigned his post in September 2008 after police investigators recommended that he be indicted in multiple corruption scandals.

A pardon would allow Olmert to return to politics. Last month, Olmert published a nearly 900-page scorched-earth book in which he continued to proclaim his innocence, criticized both enemies and allies, and blamed the harm to his political career on extremist forces in the right wing. Olmert wrote the book while he was in prison.

The president’s office told local media that the pardon request would be considered by Rivlin as he would all others.