Topaz Rages at Court: 'Do You Want Me to Die?'

Entertainer Dudu Topaz, suspected of orchestrating a series of assaults on three media figures, lashed out at a prosecuting attorney yesterday during a court hearing over the seizure of his bank account.

"Enough! Enough! Are you after the electric chair and all of my money?" the former television star shouted at the Tel Aviv District Court. Topaz was addressing the lawyer representing the director general of Channel 2 franchisee Keshet, Avi Nir, one of Topaz's alleged targets.

"Is this what you want? For me to die? Take all the money, Please, enough," Topaz said.

Nir argued during the hearing that seizure of Topaz's personal funds would cover some of the financial damages his company has sustained as a result of the extra security following the attacks Topaz allegedly commissioned.

Nir, who says he is entitled to NIS 5 million in compensation, said he was also concerned that Topaz would try to smuggle the money out of the country.

"We've submitted an affidavit in which we have detailed a long list of damages, including those I have physically endured for the last year and a half and those suffered by my family," Nir told the court.

"These are damages that impaired my work," Nir added. "I received a series of phone calls week after week in an attempt to shake the earth under my feet, to hurt my work routine - calls which ended with four words: 'Your end is near.'"

Following the hearing, Topaz's attorney said his client "regretted his actions" and expressed his desire to compensate those affected.

"Mr. Topaz asked me to convey to all of those injured in this affair that he will compensate them completely and that he deeply regrets his actions," said his lawyer, Bruriah Leckner.

"The attempt to attack, to seize an arbitrary amount of his assets is something that we have a right to fight," Leckner added. "Even a suspect in a criminal case has the right to defend his property."

Leckner asked Nir whether it was possible that the NIS 5 million claim includes some of the Keshet's regular expenses on security, to which he responded, "Ten days ago I find out that someone wanted to hurl a grenade at my house, and you're telling me that my claim is exaggerated?"

Keshet and Nir on Tuesday blasted Topaz for "playing the victim" by asking to cancel the NIS 5 million lien imposed on his back account.

"We've never seen such a reversal," Nir's attorneys wrote. "It seems Topaz has yet to internalize his responsibility for his criminal deeds and responsibility toward his victims. He dares to cry foul toward his victims, who are asking for their legal rights. Topaz's response is worded as if he were the victim in this affair."