Olmert Requests Name Be Cleared

YERUSHALAYIM -
ehud olmert
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert speaking last month in Herzliya. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has submitted a request to President Reuven Rivlin for his criminal record to be expunged, after serving 16 months in prison on corruption charges.

If Rivlin agrees, it would mean wiping clean the stain of “moral turpitude” attached to his conviction two-and-a-half years ago, and could make possible a return to politics. However, the situation would be unprecedented, and might necessitate a court ruling.

The formal request cited Olmert’s “work for the state during his time as prime minister” as a reason for leniency, according to Haaretz.

The law says that someone found guilty of “moral turpitude” may not run for public office for seven years following a prison term. Olmert was released from prison in July 2017.

The timing of the request may work against him, since it comes only days after he appeared with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in New York, endorsing the latter as a man who is “serious” about making peace. Their joint press conference, which was condemned by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ and ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon, was held a few hours after Abbas rejected the U.S. peace plan at the Security Council.