Court slams prosecution against Olmert

June 24, 2010 at 5:38 PM
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JERUSALEM, June 24 (UPI) -- A Jerusalem court Thursday slammed the prosecution for alleged witness coaching in a corruption case against former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

But the Jerusalem District Court let the case continue, despite Olmert attorney requests for a delay after a 32-page prosecution document was found to contain questions and answers for a witness.

"You said this was a refresher ... but we do not view it this way," court President Musia Arad told to the prosecution.

"How did this document come to be?" he asked.

Prosecutor Uri Korev said the state created the document for witness Hadar Saltzman because Saltzman refused to read transcripts of earlier testimony.

"We believe the document is not misleading and also includes statements that represent the other side. This has not caused any damage," Korey said.

Olmert's lawyers sent a letter of complaint to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein accusing prosecutors of coaching witnesses to deliver pre-rehearsed testimonies. The letter also demanded the attorney general investigate the matter for alleged fraud and breach of trust.

Saltzman, an agent at Israeli travel agency Rioshon Tours, was being cross-examined when the document came to light, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The trial involves allegations Olmert scammed Israel's Holocaust memorial, a charity for disabled children and other groups out of $100,000 in an alleged double-billing scheme.

Prosecutors allege Olmert would speak abroad on behalf of charitable and advocacy groups, but would have Rishon Tours bill each groups as if it were the only one paying.

Olmert then used the extra money to finance lavish family trips abroad, prosecutors allege.

Olmert said he financed the vacations through frequent-flier miles he accrued on his many foreign trips, including U.S. speaking tours.

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