Court Upholds Former Likud MK Blumenthal's 8-month Jail Term for Bribery

Blumenthal was convicted of bribing 15 Likud activists and central committee members in 2002 party primaries.

Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday rejected former Likud MK Naomi Blumenthal's appeal of her sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice in what has become known as the "Sheraton City Tower" affair.

Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court sentenced Blumenthal roughly one year ago to eight months in prison, as well as a ten-month suspended sentence and a NIS 75,000 fine.

Blumenthal was convicted of bribing 15 Likud activists and central committee members. She hosted them and their spouses in the Ramat Gan hotel before the December 2002 party primaries, in the hopes of gaining their votes in the elections.

The presiding judges harshly criticized the former Likud MK's behavior throughout the course of the legal proceedings against her, including her claims that her former driver Avi Oski lied during his testimony at the trial and that her campaign activities were legitimate.

"The appellant has denied the charges against her all along, during which she has presented a false and illogical version of events, and in her attempt to shirk responsibility she has slandered the man who was her loyal driver," wrote the judges.

"The accumulation of all the mentioned circumstances do not allow a reduction of her sentence, precisely because of her high public standing," added the judges.

Roughly one month ago Blumenthal decided to withdraw the appeal she filed in April 2006 against her conviction, apparently because she believed her chances of winning were slim, and therefore she preferred to focus on reducing her sentence.

Following the hearing, Blumenthal asked the court to delay her sentence for six months, but the court agreed to a delay of two months only.