Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan, Deputy State Prosecutor Yehoshua Reznik, Jerusalem District Court Judge Zvi Segal and defense attorney Ofer Bartal are the four candidates who have submitted their bid for the post of state prosecutor. The deadline for the submission of bids was Thursday.
Although neither Deputy State Prosecutor for Criminal Affairs Yehoshua Lemberger nor his brother Southern District Attorney Shlomo Lemberger have applied for the position, the search committee is expected to ask them to propose themselves as candidates; if that happens, they may possibly change their mind.
Reznik is the surprise entry in the list of four candidates. He served as Deputy State Prosecutor for Criminal Affairs during the famous trial of Shas leader Aryeh Deri, when Supreme Court Justice Edna Arbel was State Prosecutor. In 2000, Reznik left the state prosecution and entered private practice. His most recent and most famous client is former President Moshe Katsav, whom he is representing in the latter’s request for a retrial.
Other well-known clients whom Reznik has represented include Brigadier General Yitzhak Yaakov, former Deputy Central District Attorney Leora Glatt-Berkowitz, and Eti Alon, who was found guilty of having conducted a massive embezzlement operation while working as a clerk at the now-defunct Trade Bank. Since leaving the state prosecution, he has on a number of occasions criticized its performance.
Judge Segal, who lost out in his bid for the post of Jerusalem District Court President, has of late been mentioned in connection with two negative incidents.
The Ombudsman of the Israeli Judiciary, former Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Goldberg, criticized Segal for having been personally offensive to a defense attorney and for hampering the lawyer’s ability to defend his client; nonetheless, the Courts Administration decided not to reprimand the judge. There was also the complaint regarding the conduct of the judges, one of whom was Segal, during a rape case, with regard to the victim’s demonstrating before the court how precisely she was attacked. Goldberg ruled that the complaint was groundless because the demonstration was necessary in order to get at the truth in this case. Despite these two incidents, Segal is considered a highly esteemed judge in the eyes of the state prosecution.
Bartal is well known as a defense attorney in the Holyland corruption case, where he is representing Shula Zaken, who was a close aide to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In the past, he has represented Health Ministry personnel in the Remedia baby formula trial; the director of the Eitanim psychiatric hospital outside Jerusalem who was charged with criminal negligence of some of the hospital’s patients in a case involving physical abuse; the former director general of the Environment Ministry, Shmuel Hershkovitz, in the political appointments trial of former Environment Minister Tzachi Hanegbi; and the deputy mayor of Petah Tikva, Uriel Busso, who was recently acquitted for lack of evidence.
The search committee, headed by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, is scheduled to convene in another two weeks in order to decide which of the candidates will be interviewed and to perhaps even to decide who will be the next state prosecutor. In the course of the committee’s meeting this past week, Weinstein tried to persuade those present that this was not a “fixed” game in which Nitzan, with whom the Attorney General has worked closely and who is considered to have the best chances of being chosen for the job, is a shoe-in.
Weinstein has made it clear that he is not ruling out the possibility that an outside candidate might be chosen, even though he has in the past stated that there are enough good candidates from within the ranks of the state prosecution.
The state prosecutor must be chosen by a 4-to-1 majority in the five-member committee. It is expected that Weinstein will be supported in his choice by two committee members, Justice Ministry director general Guy Rotkopf and Civil Service Commissioner Moshe Dayan. The other two members are attorney Rachel Toren and Prof. Ariel Bendor.
The search committee is expected to reach a decision on the next state prosecutor in mid-November; the proposed appointment will be brought before the government for approval. The current state prosecutor, Moshe Lador, is expected to end his term of office on December 17.