Key witness in Olmert trial dies

(JTA) — A key state witness in a corruption trial against former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert died hours after testifying. 

The witness, identified in the Israeli media as S.D., was 75 when he died Thursday, Army Radio reported. He suffered from severe health problems.

Olmert, who served as Jerusalem mayor from 1993 to 2003, is accused of expediting the expanded construction of the Holyland luxury apartment complex and facilitating other real estate ventures in the city in exchange for bribes paid not to him, but to others. 

The statement by S.D., who served as a representative of the Holyland developers, is the only evidence that the money was transferred at Olmert’s request, Haaretz reported. 

In what was seen as a major breakthrough for Olmert’s defense team, S.D. recently admitted under cross-examination to falsifying some of the evidence that the prosecution submitted as evidence against Olmert.

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