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Okruashvili Hopes Guilty Plea will ‘Mitigate Situation’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Oct.'07 / 18:27

Ex-Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili told the Tbilisi City Court on October 8 he had decided to cooperate with the investigation and plead guilty to extortion and criminal negligence while serving as Defense Minister in order to “to mitigate my situation.”

The City Court ruled on October 8 to release Okruashvili on GEL 10 million bail. He will be released as soon as the amount is posted.

Video footage of the court hearing was released by the City Court. The footage, aired on television, shows a prosecutor telling Okruashvili: “You had been refusing to plead guilty before October 7. On October 7 you pleaded guilty to some charges, in particular, to extortion and criminal negligence [Okruashvili is also charged with money laundering and misuse of power]. Why did you change your mind?”

“I think my cooperation with the investigation… will mitigate my situation and will help to get me released on bail,” Okruashvili replied.

The video footage also shows Okruashvili saying that he wanted a new lawyer, Givi Papuashvili, to represent his interests. Eka Beselia, a member of Okruashvili’s party, had been acting as his lawyer.

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