Prosecution oversight czar: State attorney should have cleared Mandelblit – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on July 2, 2020

Responding to a request to evaluate Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblits role in the Harpaz Affair, Justice Ministry oversight czar Judge David Rozen on Wednesday said if an error needs to be fixed, it is that Mandelblits name should be fully cleared.The Harpaz Affair was mainly a fight between then-defense minister Ehud Barak and then-IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi over who would be seen by the country as Mr. Security, with Mandelblit being involuntarily drawn into the mix from various spin-off issues.Rozen issued his ruling the day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched multiple attacks on Mandelblit for seeking to block him from receiving tycoon donations to pay his legal expenses in his public corruption trial.The oversight czar, who sent former prime minister Ehud Olmert to jail and criticized Mandelblit and the prosecution on a number of issues, is not viewed as being in anyones pocket.Recent reports by Channel 13s Ayala Hasson and leaks from supporters of Netanyahu have called into question whether charges against Mandelblit should have been dropped and whether he improperly tampered with the basis for which his case was closed.However, Rozen said the biggest error to be fixed now is that Mandelblits case should be officially closed because those suspicions have been found to be groundless.In 2015, then-attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein dropped the charges against Mandelblit. But he left open whether the case was being closed due to insufficient evidence, which could have blocked Mandelblit from becoming attorney-general, or because the charges were groundless.The High Court of Justice approved Mandelblit to become attorney-general, but the question of the basis for closing the case was never resolved.After becoming attorney-general, Mandelblits lawyer sent then-state attorney Shai Nitzan a letter asking him to close the case on the basis that the charges were groundless.Though Nitzan and the prosecution generally leaned in this direction, they decided they could not take any action for fear of violating conflict-of-interest principles because Mandelblit was their boss.Despite the conflict of interest, Mandelblit had a right for his name to be cleared, and if the prosecution also believed this, they should have acceded to his lawyers request, Rozen said.Furthermore, despite questions raised about Mandelblits withholding information from the deputy attorney-general for 24 hours during the Harpaz Affair, and despite statements he made to Ashkenazi suggesting he would try to help him during the probe, that the police, Weinstein and the state comptroller at the time saw all of the evidence when the case was closed, Rozen said.

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Prosecution oversight czar: State attorney should have cleared Mandelblit - The Jerusalem Post

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