Olmert trial postponed over new scandal

The corruption trial of Ehud Olmert has been postponed for a month after the arrest of the ex-prime minister’s former aide.

During a hearing on Thursday, the Jerusalem District Court rejected a motion filed by Olmert’s defense attorney to stop the trial completely until the completion of an investigation into Olmert’s former aide, which came to light Wednesday when a media ban on the investigation was partially lifted.

Attorney Uri Messer, who worked for Olmert when he was prime minister, was arrested Tuesday for alleged corruption in dealings with various real estate projects in Jerusalem. Several others, including Jerusalem’s former municipal engineer, were also arrested. The charges involve accepting bribes to advance various construction projects around the city.

Last year, prosecutors announced that Messer would not be indicted in the corruption scandals for which Olmert himself was indicted.

The Olmert trial was postponed until May 6 due to “special circumstances,” at which time the trial hearings will begin.

Olmert is currently traveling abroad, according to reports; he has not been ordered to return to Israel despite rumors that he also will be charged in the scandal involving Messer. Olmert will return at the end of next week as scheduled, his spokesman told reporters.