The indictment against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the ongoing Holyland corruption case may be reconsidered in light of his acquittal of other corruption charges on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney-General Raz Nizri told Army Radio on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Olmert was acquitted of major corruption charges but convicted of breach of trust, a lesser offense, in what was widely seen as a stunning victory for the former prime minister.
In a separate corruption case, in which Olmert is currently standing trial along with 12 other defendants, the former prime minister is accused of having taken bribes in connection with the construction of the massive Holyland apartment complex in Jerusalem.
"I am convinced that whoever is handling this case will examine the implications [of the acquittals], as is their duty as professional attorneys," Nizri told Army Radio.
"If the verdict handed down on Tuesday impinges on the Holyland case, that is what we will do," Nizri said, suggesting that there may be some overlap between the cases. "It is our duty in every case, and certainly in a case like the Holyland case that also involves a former prime minister," he added.
The deputy attorney-general also argued that the acquittals in the Olmert cases, which have prompted many calls for State Prosecutor Moshe Lador to resign for having unjustifiably hounded a prime minister, must not deter prosecutors from fulfilling their duties.
"It is the interest of every citizen that the state prosecution not be afraid of doing its job," he said. "Our duty is to examine the evidence, to indict when we think it is appropriate and to exercise care, certainly when dealing with public figures."
Meanwhile, despite the harsh criticism leveled against the prosecution and specifically against Lador — one of Olmert's close friends even called on Lador to commit suicide — the state prosecutor stressed on Tuesday that he did not intend to step down.
"The argument that an attorney, specifically me in the case, can be asked to pay a personal cost for a partial acquittal, or even a full acquittal, is very dangerous to the conduct of the prosecution," Lador told reporters at his office on Tuesday.
"When the fear of personal implication deters the prosecution from indicting public figures it destroys the foundation upon which an independent, determined, unbiased prosecution operates," he added.
Lador did not voice regret over his decision to indict Olmert in 2009, or his decision to summon the key witness in the illegal donations case, Morris Talansky, to give early testimony. (Talansky testified that he had given Olmert undocumented donations, sometimes in the form of cash-stuffed envelopes). "If we had shelved the Olmert cases we would have been shirking our professional duty," Lador insisted. "There was no choice but to indict."
Responding to allegations that the state prosecutor's indictments had prompted Olmert's resignation from office, Lador added that "we are allowed to be in a position where the court thinks differently than us at the end of the proceedings. There is no law that requires suspending an investigation of an acting prime minister. There is no law that requires stronger evidence when the defendant is a prime minister. That is the essence of equality in the eyes of the law."
Asked whether the prosecution would appeal Olmert's acquittals, Lador declined to give a clear answer. "We need to study the verdict in detail. We are doing so in order to formulate an appropriate sentence. It is our moral duty."