Prosecutor in Olmert Trial to Rejoin Team

Jerusalem's deputy district prosecutor, who is on forced leave after saying "most judges are jackasses," is expected to resume working for the Jerusalem district prosecution but will not appear in court, following a joint decision by the Justice Ministry and Civil Service Commission yesterday.

The decision means Uri Corb will not appear in court in former prime minister Ehud Olmert's trial, but will probably work with the legal team, headed by Jerusalem District Prosecutor Eli Abarbanel, behind the scenes.

Corb has also been forbidden to lecture in academic institutions until further notice.

Corb was the chief prosecutor in Olmert's trial, which opened last week at the Jerusalem District Court despite the prosecution's request to postpone the trial because of Corb's absence. Corb temporarily stepped down from his leading role in the prosecution following the release of recorded comments he made against the judiciary in Israel. He repeatedly said he regretted saying "most judges are jackasses," and stressed that this quote was taken out of context.

State Prosecutor Moshe Lador had hoped to reach an arrangement allowing Corb to immediately resume his duties and attend the Olmert trial. Now it appears Corb will be able to help the prosecution behind the scenes only, not in the courtroom.

The Civil Service Commission's disciplinary unit recently finished investigating the allegations against Corb following his statements to students in the College of Legal Studies.

Justice Ministry director general Guy Rotkopf is to submit a disciplinary complaint against Corb to the Civil Service Commission, which is expected to lead to a suit in the commission's disciplinary tribunal. Officials in the ministry and commission believe Corb will not be dismissed from civil service but reprimanded.

Rotkopf also decided yesterday that Corb will not be permitted to lecture in academic institutions until further notice.

The Civil Service Commission's probe found that Corb was teaching at the College of Legal Studies (Michlelet Sha'arei Mishpat) without the required work permit.

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman drew a link earlier this week between the vandalizing of Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Anna Schneider's car and Corb's recent comments, referring to judges as "jackasses."

"If the deputy Jerusalem district prosecutor talks like this about judges, what more can we do to stop this horrible tsunami?" asked Neeman. "This is contempt for the judicial system."