Olmert Defense Team Challenges Talansky's Early Testimony

Prime minister's attorneys: Prosecution is speaking with forked tongue in its portrayal of Talansky.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert On Thursday filed a Supreme Court appeal against the decision to accept early testimony from U.S. businessman Morris Talansky in connection with the investigation against the prime minister.

An identical appeal was filed by Olmert's personal secretary, Shula Zaken.

"It is difficult to bear the thought that had the person in question been anyone other than the prime minister, it would not have occurred to the prosecution to seek early testimony from Talansky," Olmert's attorneys write in the appeal.

According to Olmert's lawyers, the investigation has yet to be concluded and it is still unclear what the exact allegations against Olmert are.

"The prosecution is willing to submit an unfounded request, devoid of an evidential support, while violating the petitioner's rights, for the sake of securing the testimony."

According to Olmert's attorneys, the prosecution is speaking with a forked tongue in its portrayal of Talansky. "On the one hand Talansky is portrayed as a suspect who might be tried for various legal violations that require testimony, while on the other hand no steps are being taken to restrict Talansky's movement and insure that he will show up for his trial, if and when he is indicted."

The state argued it wanted to hear Talansky's testimony without delay, "while he is still influenced by the initial shock of being interrogated as a suspect involved in criminal activities."

Olmert's team alleges that the prosecution promised to allow Talansky to leave the country on or around May 21, demanding practically no collateral, and despite the fact that he is suspected of criminal offenses.

According to the lawyers, the injunction preventing Talansky, who was interrogated by police between April 29 and was released after he came up with the financial collateral, from leaving the country was only issued on May 5, a day after the request for his early testimony was submitted.

Under these circumstances, the attorneys say, there are two possibilities: The first being that despite the fact that Talansky is not really a suspect, he received the stats of one in order to facilitate his release while guaranteeing he will not flee the country. "In this way the prosecution will have Talanky at their mercy when he testifies," the defense wrote. The other possibility is although Talanksy truly is a suspect, the prosecution believes the restrictions against him are enough to guarantee he will attempt to evade justice. But in this case, "how is it possible that Talansky was presented before the district court as a man who is likely to refuse returning to Israel to give testimony while, when it comes to issuing restrictions against him, the prosecution believes that there is no fear that he will not return to Israel to stand trial for his actions?!"