State to Appeal Ehud Olmert's Acquittals

As former PM considers political comeback, prosecution to appeal verdict and sentence in one or two cases against Olmert.

State prosecutors told Ehud Olmerts lawyers on Tuesday they were appealing both the verdicts and the sentence in the corruption cases against the former prime minister, the Justice Ministry said Tuesday night.

Prosecutors must also decide whether to extend the appeal to the role in the affair of Shula Zaken, Olmerts bureau chief.

The announcement comes as Olmert has recently been considering a political comeback in the upcoming elections, set for January 22, 2013.

In July, Olmert was acquitted in the so-called cash envelopes and double-billing affairs also known as the Talansky and Rishon Tours affairs. But he was found guilty of breach of trust in the Investment Center affair for improperly handling companies represented by his friend Uri Messer.

In the Investment Center affair, he was given a suspended one-year prison sentence and a fine of NIS 75,300 by the Jerusalem District Court.

Theres nothing behind the appeal beyond evil personal oppression of Mr. Olmert, said Amir Dan, Olmerts media adviser. Instead of internalizing the criticism and studying the verdict so that a state prosecutor will never again cause the unjustified downfall of a serving prime minister, the state prosecutor is trying to save his prestige.

Sources say an appeal will definitely be filed in the Talansky case, in which the judges made several comments on Olmerts conduct for example, that he received cash from Talansky that he failed to report and managed through a semi-secret fund in the office of Messer, an attorney.

But the judges ruled in his favor due to doubts on how this money had been used.

In its appeal, the prosecution will ask the Supreme Court to reevaluate the judges conclusion on Olmerts behavior. Sources close to the case say the appeal in the Rishon Tours case will be more complex because here the judges did not criticize Olmerts conduct.

A conviction in one of two other cases in which Olmert is embroiled would completely change the sentence, as the judges softened their sentence due to the suffering caused to Olmert during the investigations and from being put on trial for charges he was eventually acquitted of.

Police officials have said Commissioner Yohanan Danino has urged the prosecutors to appeal Olmerts partial acquittal. Danino says the evidence of criminal activity is solid.

Danino joined other senior law enforcement officials who have expressed concerns that the courts stance, especially in the cash envelopes affair, will make future investigations into and indictments of senior politicians more difficult.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Moti Milrod
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert at the District Court in Jerusalem, July 10, 2012.