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Will Ehud Olmert be sentenced to a long prison term for his bribery conviction?
Jerusalem Post ^ | 03/31/2014 15:51 | NATI GABBAY, DANIEL CLINTON

Posted on 03/31/2014 6:50:44 AM PDT by Dave346

Legal experts agree that the state is likely to seek several years in prison for Olmert following his conviction in the Holyland affair; the fact that he has served in high government positions may work against him.

With Ehud Olmert having been convicted Monday of bribery in the Holyland trial, attention will now turn to whether or not the former prime minister will serve time in prison for his crimes, and if so, how much time.

Judge David Rozen said at the conclusion of the reading of the verdict against Olmert and nine others in the Holyland trial in Tel Aviv District Court on Monday that sentencing arguments in the case would begin in less than a month on April 28.

The likely maximum sentence for bribery as it pertains to Olmert in the Holyland case is seven years. The maximum sentence for bribery has been changed to ten years in recent years, however, it was seven years at the time the crime was committed. Legal precedent suggests that the state will take into account the maximum sentence at the time the crime was committed.

Professor Emanuel Gross, a legal expert at Haifa University, said that he expected the state would seek a long prison sentence for Olmert, which is standard for those convicted of bribery.

Gross surmised that the state would seek a long sentence in relation to the maximum allowed for bribery given that this is one of the most serious crimes that someone has been convicted of while in public service. He said that the fact that Olmert took bribes while he was the mayor of Jerusalem and a minister - and later became prime minister - was likely to lead the state to seek a harsher sentence.

"You expect these people to exemplify integrity, and if, of all people, our leaders are corrupt, then the fitting punishment is several years in prison," Gross said.

Gross compared Olmert's case to those of Arye Deri and Shlomo Benizri, both ministers convicted of bribery who were sentenced to three and four years in prison respectively.

"[Olmert] is a much more senior figure. It is reasonable that the state would request punishment for him that is, at the least, equal, if not more severe."

Senior Israeli defense attorney Yair Golan said that judging on the severity of Monday's verdict, it was clear that the state would seek a relatively long prison sentence - especially given the high profile of the Holyland affair and the large sums of money involved in the bribes.

Golan said that the fact that Olmert and the other nine defendants who were convicted Monday held senior positions in society would not be to their benefit in sentencing.

The fact that he was prime minister would not help Olmert, but rather it would hurt him, Golan said. "It's a double-edge sword: the more senior a person's position is in the leadership, the more the public expects from him, and if he falls, he falls hard," Golan said.

He added that Judge David Rozen , who delivered Monday's verdict and is responsible for sentencing is not considered lenient in his doling out of punishments.

Golan said that Olmert's legal team is likely to say during sentencing arguments that most of the money paid in bribes to advance the Holyland real estate project did not go to him personally. They are also likely to praise Olmert's contributions to the state while in public service, Golan added.

While experts believe that Olmert's having been prime minister will hurt him in sentencing, it actually led to a more lenient sentence in his conviction for breach of public trust in the Jerusalem corruption trial in 2012.

In that case, Olmert had said that having to give up his position as prime minister and four years of harrying litigation and inquisitions were penalties far greater than six months of community service. He said that, therefore, he should be given no penalty and be left with his conviction.

Ultimately, the court mostly adopted Olmert’s arguments, concluding its opinion regarding Olmert with extended remarks about the special circumstances of having been forced to give up being prime minister and of his 35 years of service to the nation

The court's concluding paragraph described his fall as a tragedy from someone who had reached the highest office in the land.

It referenced all of his contributions to the state in 35 years of service and that especially as prime minister he carried out policies for the sake of the state across the spectrum.

TOPICS: Israel
KEYWORDS: bribery; olmert

1 posted on 03/31/2014 6:50:44 AM PDT by Dave346
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To: Dave346

What kind of kink does this throw into Obama’s plans to steer Israel back to the Left?

2 posted on 03/31/2014 6:57:04 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Well, it certainly doesn’t help :)

Obama has tried to get Netanyahu removed for 5 years now, but Netanyahu has learned from his first term back in the 90s when his coalition collapsed after he made too many concessions to Clinton.

3 posted on 03/31/2014 7:04:32 AM PDT by Dave346
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To: Dave346

That being said, Netanyahu is walking a fine line after releasing 78 killers in recent months just to keep a worthless “peace process” going and placate Obama.

Almost all of the Israeli public opposed these releases.

4 posted on 03/31/2014 7:08:44 AM PDT by Dave346
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