Israeli premier's lawyers continue quizzing key witness graft case
Lawyers for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday resumed their cross-examination of the key state witness in the corruption case in which Olmert is suspected of - among others things - having accepted bribes, the dpa reported.
US Jewish businessman and fundraiser, Morris Talansky, has said he gave Olmert at least 150,000 dollars, much of it in cash stuffed in envelopes because he was asked to do so.
The payments were made over a period of 15 years, before Olmert was elected premier in March 2006. During that he period was mayor of Jerusalem and a cabinet minister for the hardline Likud party.
Olmert's lawyers have tried to shake Talansky's credibility, pounding him with detailed questions and accusing him of "inventing stories," since cross-examination started in the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday.
Talansky on Friday conceded that he may have failed to correctly remember details "here or there" but insisted his account was truthful in general.
Olmert has said he used Talansky's donations to cover debts for four election campaigns when he ran for mayor and the Likud leadership. Talansky alleges Olmert used part of the money for personal needs.
Olmert, who became premier in 2006, risks charges ranging from bribe-taking, to fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and breaking Israel's party funding law. He has promised to resign if an indictment is filed against him.
The affair, which now threatens Olmert's political future and peace negotiations with Palestinians, first broke in early May, when police first questioned him about the suspicions.
On Friday, the court rejected Talansky's request for the cross-examination to end Sunday, rather than Tuesday, to allow him to return to his sick wife in the United States.