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Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has the right to pursue his libel case against State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, who does not have immunity from such a suit, the Tel Aviv District Court ruled yesterday.

Olmert filed suit against Lador and Haaretz over an interview in the newspaper about a year ago in which Lador talked about allegations of wrongdoing against Olmert. The former prime minister claims Lador's remarks were inappropriate and libelous in light of the fact that the legal proceedings against Olmert were ongoing.

Olmert also claimed that the investigation in the Holyland case, involving alleged bribes paid to facilitate a housing development on the site of the former Holyland Hotel, was still underway at the time of the interview, and as a result, Lador's interview included an effort to harm Olmert and influence the investigation.

Olmert was indicted in the Holyland case earlier this month and is facing other charges of wrongdoing as well.

Tel Aviv Magistrate Riva Niv ruled that Lador was not immune from Olmert's suit, but delayed putting the ruling into effect for 30 days to allow an appeal of the decision to the District Court. District Court Judge Eitan Orenstin ruled yesterday that the manner in which the state attempted to give Lador immunity was flawed and Olmert should be given an opportunity to prove his case.

Although the state claimed Lador was entitled to immunity as a civil servant acting in the course of his job, Orenstin said the state failed to investigate the circumstances of the interview and determine whether Lador indeed intended to cause harm to Olmert's legal standing when it issued him a certificate of immunity.

Olmert's media adviser, Amir Dan, welcomed Orenstin's ruling, saying the time had come to deal with Olmert's allegations.