Prosecutor in 'Kiss Affair' May Have Her Term Extended

State Prosecutor Moshe Lador is considering extending the tenure of Tel Aviv District Attorney Ruth David for another year, despite an upcoming interim report by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss that contains harsh criticism of David. The comptroller's report is understood to address the attorney's conduct in the "kiss affair" in which former minister Haim Ramon was convicted of forcibly kissing a female army officer.

Sources close to David in the district prosecution office told Haaretz that Lador approached her some months ago, after the publication of a draft of the report, which found flaws in her conduct in the affair. Lador reportedly asked her to prolong her term by a year for the sake of professional and administrative tasks, the sources said. Staffers in the prosecution service spoke of another possible motive being Lador's request - to involve David in preparing indictments that may result from the Holyland corruption probe.

According to the sources, David told Lador she would agreed to stay on for another year. Originally, she was expected to leave office this summer, due to limitations on the terms of senior prosecution officials, which have been put into practice by the Civil Service Commission and the Justice Ministry since 2002. An eight-year limit was intended to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of senior officials for an extended period, but the state prosecutor has the authority to extend the tenure of a district attorney if the civil service commissioner agrees. However, this is a highly unusual move.

The criticism of David concerns the wiretapping conducted in the investigation of Ramon. The former minister claimed the warrant to carry out the wiretapping was obtained under false pretense. He said he found out about the tap accidentally in the middle of his trial and argued the concealment of this information seriously damaged his defense.

Legal sources told Haaretz there was irony in the proposed extension of David's tenure. They noted that following the release of the draft a year ago, the state comptroller ordered Police Commissioner David Cohen and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to prevent the promotion of Chief Superintendent Eran Kamin for his involvement in the wiretapping. Kamin's promotion was delayed until the final report on the wiretapping is published, and until legal opinion on the promotion in light of the report's findings has been received from the attorney general. The state comptroller's report is expected to be released in the next few weeks.

David's attorney, Orna Lin, declined to comment. The Justice Ministry said in response that no decisions have been made on David's tenure. "This does not constitute a denial or affirmation of anything stated in the news report," the statement said.