Former Prime Minister Olmert Asks Rivlin to Expunge His Criminal Record

Lawyers for Ehud Olmert, who served jail time on corruption charges, based request on his contributions to the state, while Olmert has expressed interest in returning to public life

President Reuven Rivlin and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the annual memorial ceremony for Ariel Sharon, May 7, 2019.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2012, petitioned President Reuven Rivlin last week to expunge his criminal record.

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Olmert submitted the request through his attorneys: Ram Caspi, Eyal Rozovsky and Aaron Michaeli. Caspi recently provided consulting services to the defense team representing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases.

The lawyers argued for leniency based on Olmert’s contribution to the state, mainly during his tenure as prime minister. Expunging one’s criminal record removes the stain of moral turpitude placed on elected officials for seven years.

Olmert had previously asked Rivlin to expunge his criminal record in 2018. Sources familiar with the details of the affair told Haaretz that several people advocated for Olmert at the time, including a well-known international businessman. They asked Rivlin to consider Olmert's situation and service as prime minister and pardon him. When Rivlin made it clear that he had no intention of expunging his record, Olmert withdrew his request.

Following Olmert's release from jail in 2017, Rivlin eased the conditions of his release. Olmert was not required to report to a police station twice a month and was allowed to travel abroad. While Olmert was in prison, Rivlin rejected his request for a pardon and immediate release.

Olmert has expressed a desire to return to public life in private conversations with political figures in recent months. However, some of his close associates have said that even if he was granted a pardon and his record was expunged, they do not believe Olmert would run for Knesset.