Former prime minister Ehud Olmert got a reprieve from jail Wednesday, at least until after his appeal against a corruption conviction has been completed.
The state prosecutor had agreed to Olmert’s request to stay his sentence, handed down after he was convicted in May for his role in the so-called Talansky affair, and it was confirmed Wednesday by the Supreme Court.
Olmert was found guilty of accepting envelopes full of cash from American businessman and fundraiser Morris Talansky in exchange for political favors during his decade-long stint as mayor of Jerusalem. The former premier was ordered jailed for eight months and was fined NIS 100,000 ($26,000), but appealed to the Supreme Court last week to defer his sentence. Supreme Court Justice Yitzhak Amit agreed to the request.
Olmert is also appealing another corruption conviction for the so-called “Holyland affair,” in which he was found guilty of accepting bribes in return for advancing the construction of the luxury Holyland residential project in the capital. Olmert’s successor as mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski, was also found guilty in the affair.
The former prime minister had asked the court to show leniency in his sentencing for the Talansky conviction, telling judges he had suffered during the seven-year period of his court trials.
In their sentencing, the judges wrote that a “black flag” was flying over Olmert’s behavior, necessitating the jail term.
“A black flag of immorality and corruption waves above the defendant’s actions,” state prosecutor Uri Korb told the press after the decision. “The court held that there can be no penalty other than imprisonment.”
Last year, Olmert was given six years in prison for his role in the Holyland affair — called the largest corruption case in the country’s history. He has been able to stay out of prison for that conviction too, however, while appeal proceedings play out.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.