Olmert's Former Bureau Chief to Testify Against Him on Sunday

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Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (3rd R) and his ex bureau chief Shula Zaken (L) wait to hear his verdict at the Tel Aviv District Court, March 31, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s bureau chief Shula Zaken will begin testifying against him as a state’s witness on Sunday in the reopened “cash-envelopes” case in which Olmert allegedly accepted illicit funds from New York businessman Morris Talansky.

Later this week Zaken will be cross-examined by Olmert’s new lawyer, Eyal Rosovsky.

“A decision was made by Olmert and the professional legal team that has worked with him for years that no one in the permanent team should cross-examine Zaken due to their connections with Zaken, either good or bad, when both she and Olmert were defendants,” Rosovsky told Haaretz.

In September, the Supreme Court ruled that the convicted in the Holyland corruption case, including Olmert and former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, may remain free until their appeals are heard.

Meanwhile, Rosovsky worked with Olmert lawyers Eli Zohar and Roy Blecher when they represented Rabbi Yoshiahu Pinto in his graft trial. The High Court of Justice recently criticized Pinto for making demands in exchange for giving incriminating evidence against police Maj. Gen. Menashe Arviv, the former head of the police’s Lahav 433 unit.

The court delayed the beginning of Pinto’s trial until clarifications were received from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who approved the state’s plea bargain with Pinto. Haaretz recently reported that Rosovsky and Weinstein were friends.

Rosovsky does not deny that he is close to Weinstein but says the two have a professional relationship. “We don’t visit each other’s homes or get together with our wives,” he said, adding that the two met in London while representing a common client.

“We did see a soccer match together but we didn’t travel there together. I doubt that Weinstein ever watched soccer before or after that,” he said.

Rosovsky said the plea bargain with Pinto was reached before he joined the defense team. Zohar and Blecher resigned from Pinto’s defense team recently. Rosovsky denies that this happened due to interviews given to the media by Pinto associates, against the terms of the plea bargain.

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