Israel’s State Prosecutor’s Office may void the plea bargain it signed with Sefardi haredi kabbalist-to-the-stars Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto (pictured at right) after Pinto failed to appear for court hearings, prosecutors reportedly told the court yesterday.
Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto Misses Court Date, Prosecutors Want To Seize Bond And May Void Plea Deal
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Israel’s State Prosecutor’s Office may void the plea bargain it signed with Sefardi haredi kabbalist-to-the-stars Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto after Pinto failed to appear for court hearings, prosecutors reportedly told the court yesterday.
Pinto attempted to bribe a top police officer, Brigadier General Ephraim Bracha. After his arrest for that crime, Pinto agreed to testify against an even more senior police officer, Menashe Arviv, who headed of the elite Lahav 433 unit and who Pinto also allegedly bribed.
Before the plea bargain, Pinto faced charges of bribery, interfering with an investigation and making threats. But the charges were reduced and possible prison time capped at one year in exchange for his testimony against Arviv.
But Pinto – who was allowed by prosecutors to travel to the US – has failed to return to Israel to appear at scheduled hearings.
Yesterday, exasperated and embarrassed prosecutors asked Tel Aviv District Court Judge Oded Mudrik to issue a writ of habeus corpus ordering Pinto to return to Israel and to order the forfeiture of the 2 million shekel (approximately $493,000) bond Pinto – whose personal net worth is reportedly in the tens of millions of dollars – gave the court before he left for the US, Ha’aretz reported.
Mudrik reportedly ordered Pinto’s lawyers to submit detailed medical records to support their so far unsupported claim that Pinto is incapable of traveling due to illness.
Pinto claims to have had surgery on February 19 in New York. Prosecutors expected him to return to Israel one month later. But he didn’t.
Prosecutor Racheli Hazan-Feldman reportedly told the court that Pinto simply failed to appear. Instead of medical documents showing what his physical condition actually is, Pinto allegedly sent prosecutors receipts and irrelevant documents.
Hazan-Feldman and assistant district attorney Nava Schiller also told the court they lost trust in Pinto after he requested a stay of proceedings in October to care for his sick wife. Instead, the Pintos traveled to Bulgaria.
“Had I known this would happen, I wouldn’t have let Pinto leave the country,” Mudrik reportedly said.
Pinto’s Israeli legal team claimed the documents Pinto submitted “speak for themselves.”
“The medical certificates speak for themselves. Pinto’s surgeon is one of the leaders in his field…a one-month postponement is not an extreme request,” Pinto’s attorney, Eyal Rosovsky, reportedly said. He also insisted that the conditions needed to issue a writ of habeus corpus and to seize Pinto’s bond had not been met.
Mudrik said the new medical documents he ordered the Rosovsky to submit to the court on Pinto’s behalf would be given to medical experts for evaluation. He gave Rosovsky one week to turn in the documents. He also stayed Pinto’s arraignment for one month.
Pinto allegedly bribed senior police officers to get information on a criminal investigation into the Hazon Yeshaya charity he effectively controlled. Tens of thousands of dollars in food donations earmarked for elderly Holocaust survivors were allegedly looted by Hazon Yeshaya’s top leadership, and a significant amount of that stolen money allegedly ended up in Pinto’s pockets.