Skip to main content

Olmert pleads innocence as fraud trial opens

  • Story Highlights
  • Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert indicted on several corruption charges
  • Olmert tells court: "I have come here as an innocent man"
  • Olmert resigned in September 2008 amid deepening corruption investigation
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proclaimed his innocence in a Jerusalem court as proceedings began Friday in his high-profile corruption trial.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

"For the past three years, I have been subject to an almost inhumane system of smearing and investigations, and have naturally paid a heavy price for this period of time," Olmert said in a prepared statement.

"Now is the time for facts, and only facts. I have come here as an innocent man, and I believe I'll come out of here an innocent man."

Olmert was indicted on a variety of corruption charges in a probe that dogged his last months in office, according to prosecutors.

He served as Jerusalem's mayor from 1993 to 2003, and held several Cabinet posts under then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma since a stroke in 2006. Olmert succeeded Sharon after his stroke.

Olmert announced his resignation in September 2008, after the corruption investigation deepened, and left office after a new government took power in March.

Prosecutors accuse Olmert of double-billing government agencies for travel, taking cash from an American businessman in exchange for official favors and acting on behalf of his former law partner's clients.

CNN's Kevin Flower in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

All About Ehud OlmertIsrael

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print