Lawyers for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have cross-examined for
a second straight day a U.S. businessman at the center of corruption
allegations against the embattled leader.
The defense attorneys Friday again tried to discredit testimony provided in May by U.S. financier Morris Talansky.
75-year-old Talansky appeared tired and frequently exasperated during
the cross-examination. He said there may be an occasional lapse in his
memory, but he insisted his testimony overall was accurate.
said he provided Mr. Olmert with $150,000 stuffed into
envelopes while Mr. Olmert served as Jerusalem mayor and trade and
Israeli police questioned Mr. Olmert for a third time last week about the allegations.
Mr. Olmert says the payments were legal campaign contributions. He denies wrongdoing, but has said he will resign if indicted.
last week, Israeli police said they are investigating whether Mr.
Olmert made multiple, excessive expense claims for trips abroad.
say Mr. Olmert is suspected of enriching himself by charging various
entities, including the state, for the same travel expenses. Police
say some of the money was allegedly deposited into one of Mr. Olmert's
Mr. Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem for 10
years until 2003. He later served as trade minister before becoming
prime minister in 2006.
Israel's defense minister and Labor
Party leader, Ehud Barak, has demanded the ruling Kadima Party pick a
new leader because of the investigation into the corruption
allegations. The Labor Party is Mr. Olmert's main coalition partner.
The ruling party approved a motion earlier this month to hold an election by late September.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.