State Prosecutor Moshe Lador was nowhere to be found Tuesday, after what has been called the State Prosecutor's Office's "flagship case" against former PM Ehud Olmert ended with a near-complete acquittal.
Earlier, after nearly four years of proceedings, the Jerusalem District Court exonerated Olmert of any wrongdoing in the Talansky Affair and the Rishon Tours double billing scandal. He was, however, found guilty of breach of trust in the Investment Center case.
The indictment, which was filed in 2008, prompted Olmert's impeachment. Olmert's exoneration prompted exceptionally harsh criticism against Lador, who personally pursued the indictment, with both politicians and legalists saying he may have to resign following the "scandalous failure."
Speculations to that effect are fueled mostly by Lador's own promise "to assume personal responsibility for the outcome of this case."
In 2008, during the very early stages of the investigation against Olmert – which then still focused only on the Talansky case – Lador, in an unorthodox move, sent a memo to the entire legal staff in the State Prosecutor's Office, explaining the decision to pursue a case against an acting prime minister.
Lador explained at the time that the memo was meant to clear up "false media reports" about the investigation as well as the decision to opt for the pre-trial deposition of Talansky, which was unusual in itself.
"I have been deliberating whether or not to join the prosecution's team in the case and personally attend the hearings. There are obvious pros and cons and each of you can asses the meaning and risks attached to such an appearance.
"Eventually, I decided to attend the hearings… I believe it is morally right that under the circumstances presented in this case, and as demanded by the office I hold, I appear in court and will assume personal responsibility for the outcome of this unique case," Lador wrote.
Senior legalist Prof. Emanuel Gross ventured Tuesday that Lador may, indeed, be asked to assume personal responsibility for his office's failure.
"This is a major shock as far as the prosecution is concerned," he said. "This is a serious blow to the prosecution's prestige and certainly, to that of its chief, who personally pursued this case."