Powered by WebAds

Friday, May 09, 2008

Olmert's lawyer-former law partner to turn State's witness?

Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert made a serious blunder Thursday night when he placed responsibility for the money that he took on his lawyer and former law partner Uri Messer. According to Israel Radio's Moshe Negbi, Olmert's naming Messer waives Olmert's right to what's known as the attorney-client privilege, because the privilege is vitiated when the attorney is a partner in the alleged claim. As a result, Messer is now allowed to testify against Olmert in any court proceeding.

Messer is cooperating with the police - unlike Olmert's bureau chief Shula Zaken - and his implicated both Olmert and Zaken in the bribery scandal.
Messer and Olmert met in the mid-1970s in the law firm of Uzi Atzmon. In 1977 they left Atzmon's firm together with attorney Baruch Adler to set up their own office and also took the secretary, Shula Zaken.

In 1988 Messer headed an association called "United Jerusalem", which ran Olmert's campaign for mayor, and throughout the years has also served as the PM's legal representative in several private real estate deals. Messer is married to Deputy Attorney General Davida Lachman-Messer.

In April 2007 State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss issues a scathing report against Olmert relating to the PM's time as industry, trade and labor minister in Ariel Sharon's administration, when he allegedly helped grant favors to a factory represented Messer.

Lindenstrauss wrote in his report that "Olmert did not avoid discussing or dealing with a matter that involved his friend, former partner and current attorney Uri Messer, who represented an enterprise that sought economic benefit from the state through the Investments Center of the Industry and Trade Ministry."
Although he has not done so yet, Messer may yet turn State's witness:
The police are looking into the possibility of giving Attorney Uri Messer "state witness" status, thus granting him immunity from prosecution in return for incriminating testimony against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Police believe Olmert and his bureau chief Shula Zaken used to take the money that they received from contributor Morris Talansky and pass it on to Messer for safekeeping.

Police sources told Haaretz Thursday that Messer's role in the wrongdoing was minor compared to that of Olmert, Talansky and Zaken, because he did not know where the money had come from or that it had been a bribe.

There are no state witnesses in the case as of today.


At 6:49 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Ehud Olmert had a consigliere? Now who is the godfather in this case? Its hard to believe two practicing attorneys decided the law didn't apply to them. Stranger things have happened in Israel. If Uri Messer is going to sing like a bird, we may get to know more about how all that cash was handled than we have to date.


Post a Comment

<< Home