LIVE BLOG: Olmert to Receive Verdict on 3 Corruption Counts

Get minute-by-minute updates on the trial of the former PM, involving three separate bribery and corruption cases.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

10:45: Olmert: “Four years ago, all of Israel’s media outlets were filled with reports of envelopes of cash. There were no envelopes of cash. None. In the court house, it was determined once and for all, that there were no envelopes of cash.

The rulings on the Talansky and Rishon Tours affairs were the heart of the indictments. It was said that the ground would shake. I did not defraud any organization: Yad Vashem, Aleh, and the Association for Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers.

The Rishon Tours affair is erased. Again, there was no corruption, no money received, no use of money, no envelopes of cash. Nothing they tried to accuse me of in the affair was true.

The court decided that in the case of the Investment Center, I breached trust. I respect the court’s decision. I will learn the necessary lessons from this decision. In the courthouse, it was decided that there was a failure to follow proper procedure. Not corruption. I did not benefit from anything. This is a note that I respect and will take to heart.”

10:17: Eli Zohar: "It is a big day for the Israeli courts, the same judges that wanted early testimony from Talansky acquitted Olmert in the Talansky affair. The same judges discussed the charges in the Rishon Tours affair acquitted Olmert of all charges."

"The Prime Minister stepped down from his post following the preliminary testimony from Morris Talansky, and we came here to hear Talansky speak in 2008. That ordeal ended today in an resounding acquittal. I appreciate the court’s honorable ability to be unaffected by pressure from society and the media, and to make a ruling despite them."

"Also, I cannot let go the comments made by Condoleezza Rice at the start of the Talansky affair, and the difficulties that resulted in Israel from her remarks."

10:00: Shula Zaken: "I believed in the court, I felt the whole way that the judges were listening, asking the right questions. I decided not to be a witness at the trial, because I felt I was being used as a tool by someone who wanted to take down a Prime Minister."

09:55: Hearing completed. The only charge Olmert was convicted of was breach of trust, a relatively minor charge.

09:54:Zaken acquitted of eavesdropping charges.

09:53: All that’s left is the charge of eavesdropping on Shula Zaken. The indictment stated that she listened in on Olmert’s conversations without permission.

09:52: Now they’re speaking about a smaller affair, fraud against the State Comptroller – that Olmert did not report a loan he had received, and the value of his pen collection. Olmert also acquitted of the “Pen affair.”

09:44: Defendant’s claim that there was no financial relationship between himself and Messer rejected.

09:42: Investment House affairs. Here, Olmert was convicted. “We’ve examined the ties between the defendant and Uri Messer. There was a high level of cooperation”

09:38: On the left side of the courtroom, at the prosecutor’s table, prosecutor’s faces looking forlorn.

09:37: Also, all decisions on the case are unanimous, which means it will be difficult to appeal.

09:36: “There is reasonable doubt as to the basis for fraud charges.” Zaken also acquitted in Talansky affair.

09:34: “It was not possible to determine with absolute certainty that the funds were not political.” The judges accept Olmert’s explanation that the funds were legal donations.

09:32: Judge Arad relays amount of money received from Talansky, roughly $350,000.

09:32: How will the judges explain the acquittal in the Talansky affair?

09:31: Without a doubt, today is the day that Olmert will begin to return to public life. On the other hand, the Holyland affair still looms in the future.

09:30: The reason is the special, close relationship between Olmert and Zaken. She acted independently, with wide authority.

09:29: Judges wish to explain how Olmert, the senior official, who received the funds was acquitted, and his subordinate was convicted.

09:28: Shula Zaken convicted in the Rishon Tours affair. The defendant’s refusal to testify cannot be ignored.

09:25: The judges also accept Olmert’s claim that he was very busy, and liable to think that the trips were paid for by frequent flyer points.

09:24: “Management procedures do not show a method for generating excess funds, no intent for creating excess funds was proven.”

09:22: “The finding is that there was no method for fraud in place between the defendant and Rishon Tours. There was no special relationship between the defendant and the owners of Rishon Tours.”

09:20: “A method for embezzlement of funds was not proven. There were some trips that were charged for more than the flight cost, others that were charged for less than the flight cost, as opposed to the written accusations.”

09:20: “There weren’t clear rules and guidelines.” The judges accepted Olmert’s explanation, which cited disorganization in the PM’s office.

09:16: Rishon Tours “We’ve reached the conclusion that the evidence does not show beyond a reasonable doubt that those involved acted intentionally to generate profits for the defendant.”

09:15: It's a crushing defeat for the prosecution!

09:13: Olmert found guilty of breach of trust in Investment Center affair.

09: 12: Olmert acquitted of corruption charges in Talansky and Rishon Tours affairs.

09:08: Judge Musia Arad begins with summation of Morris Talansky’s previous testimony, which led to Olmert’s resignation as PM.

09:06: Court file 09.426.

09:05: Judge enters, photographers exit.

09:04: Just as he has for the last two and a half years, Olmert makes sure not to sit on the defendant’s bench until the media leaves the courtroom. You will not find a picture of Olmert sitting on the bench in any archive.

08:59: Ehud Olmert Enters the courtroom.

08:51: Lawers filling in the first rows of seats. Prosecutor Ori Korb takes his place. Next to me, a Globes illustrator is working on a preliminary sketch of the courtroom.

08:41: Most likely this won’t be a simple ruling of guilty or innocent. It will probably be more complex, but an acquittal on any one of the three counts would be considered a victory for Olmert.

08:36: Shula Zaken enters the courtroom, along with three family members and two lawyers.

08:31: Good Morning. Live blog from the Jerusalem district court on Olmert corruption trial. Currently, roughly20 journalists in the courtroom. 100 more on the lower floor.

Olmert is slated to receive a verdict from A panel of three Jerusalem District Court judges its ruling at 9:30 A.M. on what have come to be known as the Rishon Tours, Talansky and Investment Center affairs.

When he first took the witness stand, in May 2011, Olmert told the court, "I am fighting for my life here," and he has certainly waged a stubborn legal battle.

In the Rishon Tours affair Olmert allegedly pocketed $92,164 by claiming double and triple reimbursement from public organizations and from the state for trips between 2002-2006.

In the Talansky affair, which led to Olmert's resignation as prime minister in 2008, Olmert is charged with illegally receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars illegally.

The Investment Center affairs concerns allegations that Olmert, during his term as industry, trade and labor minister, granted personal favors to Uri Messer, his old law partner.

Olmert is also one of sixteen suspects charged with wrongdoing in the Holyland corruption trial, which involves developers who allegedly paid bribes to senior Jerusalem municipal officials in exchange for expedited approval of expanded construction plans for the Holyland project.

Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem District Court, September 24, 2012.Credit: Omer Meiron



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