Olmert admits to obstruction of justice in plea deal


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted to obstruction of justice charges in a plea deal, the first time he has admitted to wrongdoing.

Olmert was convicted in Jerusalem Magistrates Court on Monday and sentenced to six months in prison and a $13,000 fine. The prison sentence is to be served concurrently with his 18-month prison sentence in the Holyland corruption scandal.

The court will finalize the sentence on Feb. 10.

In tapes provided by Olmert’s former aide Shula Zaken, who turned state’s witness, Olmert is heard asking Zaken not to testify against him and offering to pay her legal expenses.

The Holyland affair, what is being called the largest corruption scandal in Israel, involved the payment of bribes to government officials by the developers of a luxury high-rise apartment complex in Jerusalem.

In May, Olmert was sentenced to eight months in prison after being convicted of accepting cash-filled envelopes from an American-Jewish businessman, Morris Talansky, and using it for personal and not political expenses. The case is under appeal to the Supreme Court.

Olmert is the first Israeli prime minister to be sentenced to jail time. He is scheduled to enter prison on Feb. 15.

Olmert resigned as prime minister in September 2008 after police investigators recommended that he be indicted in multiple corruption scandals.

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