Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto has submitted a request for pardon, Channel 10 reports Tuesday, just two months after beginning his jail sentence for corruption.
Pinto based his request on his deteriorating medical condition, which he has referenced time and time again throughout legal proceedings against him.
He allegedly suffered a heart attack in April 2015 while boarding a flight back to Israel to face corruption charges; his supporters claim he suffers from cancer and has undergone multiple surgeries that have weakened him greatly.
In February, a court ruled that Pinto would be permitted to serve his one year sentence in the Nitzan prison’s medical center.
Senior political officials told Channel 10 late Tuesday that Justice Ministry officials are widely expected to reject any pardon request from President Reuven Rivlin for Pinto.
Rabbi who cried ‘victim’?
Pinto has been involved in multiple corruption scandals.
He was convicted for attempting to bribe senior police officer Ephraim Bracha with $200,000 for information about a pending police investigation into the Hazon Yeshaya charity organization, which Pinto was rumored to be closely involved with. Bracha immediately reported the incident to his superiors, prompting a separate investigation against Rabbi Pinto himself.
That investigation revealed that Pinto allegedly tried to bribe several other officers for information about the case against Hazon Yeshaya.
The charity, which was supposed to have provided millions of dollars to Holocaust survivors and ran a popular soup kitchen and volunteer network in Jerusalem, closed in 2012 under allegations of fraud.
In addition, Pinto’s associates claim that Menashe Arbiv, the former commander of the Lahav 433, received various benefits, including help receiving a visa to the United States for his son and wife.
Despite admitting to involvement in the crimes, Pinto himself has been highly vocal over his innocence, claiming in hyperbolic statements to his followers that the verdict has “stabbed them with a million knives,” and claiming he is “the most persecuted in this generation.”
The statements were later found to be violations of the plea deal, causing three of his most high-profile attorneys to quit the complex case in October 2015.