The Jerusalem district court handed down a light one-year sentence suspended for three years plus a fine of NIS75,300 against ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert on charges of breach of trust. The sentence did not accord with the court’s description of his offenses as “extremely serious, corrupting and prejudicial to the core values of public service” – no minor technical offense as the defense council argued.
Ordinarily, the court said, his crime would have warranted prison. What counted in his favor was his decision to step down as prime minister in 2009 before his indictment for corruption amid the scandal over his receipt of envelopes stuffed with cash from an American tycoon.
The same court earlier acquitted him of two additional counts of corruption.
The prosecution asked Olmert to be sentenced to only six months of community service, enough to have barred him from elected or public office in government or parliament for seven years.
The prosecution may decide to appeal the sentence before the high court. If Olmert survives this and also his upcoming corruption trial in the Holyland property bribes case, he is home and dry for a political comeback.