Olmert Assembles Dream Team of Lawyers for Trial

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert has hired a battery of some of the country's most prominent attorneys to face off against the prosecution in his corruption trial, which begins today in Jerusalem.

The defense team is headed by Olmert's longtime associate, Eli Zohar, along with another attorney from his firm, Roy Blecher. Zohar represented Olmert before the Winograd Committee investigating the Second Lebanon War, and former police commissioner Moshe Karadi, who was investigated for police and prosecutorial misconduct in the investigation of an underworld killing.

Another well-known attorney defending Olmert is Navot Telzur of Ram Caspi's firm. He also represented Shas politician Aryeh Deri, who served a seven-year jail sentence for bribery and other charges, and was on the team that defended Haim Ramon in his sexual harassment case.

Another senior defense attorney is Yehuda Weinstein, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for attorney general or state prosecutor. Weinstein, who is considered an expert in plea bargains, represented Shas MK Yair Levy on embezzlement charges, cardiac surgeon Prof. Gideon Oretzky on charges of fraud and breach of trust, and arranged a plea bargain for Judge Dahlia Mark-Horenczyk to avoid a trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust and abuse of power.

Also on the team is Zvi Klang, former deputy director of the economic department of the state prosecutor's office. He conducted the state's case against Shimon Sheves, who served as director-general of the Prime Minister's Office under Yitzkak Rabin, and was convicted of breach of faith in a precedent-setting case that defined that infraction.

Yaakov Galanti, former Justice Ministry spokesman, who is also a business associate of Olmert's, is also on the team.

A senior attorney told Haaretz that Olmert's defense could cost between $600,000 to $800,000 dollars, which is considered low, but Olmert's prominence leads to exposure for the attorneys that is a factor in charging less for their services.