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Olmert asserts his innocence

September 26, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Ehud Olmert became the first current or past Israeli prime minister to go on trial, insisting in a Jerusalem courtroom that he is innocent of corruption allegations that drove him from office.

The allegations that haunted Olmert's term, which ended this year, gravely damaged Israelis' faith in their leaders and hurt Olmert's chances of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Entering the court, Olmert told reporters that he had been subjected to an "ordeal of slanders and investigations."

Olmert, 63, left politics when rival Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister in March. Olmert has largely been out of the public eye since then.

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