Prosecutor: I’d Be Shocked If Netanyahu Were Indicted

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

The likelihood that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be indicted in any of the investigations against him is close to zero, according to a report on Channel 20. The report quoted a senior official in the State Prosecutor’s Office as saying that, with all the work police have invested in the cases, they have little actual evidence. “I would be shocked if the Attorney General would decide to indict the Prime Minister in either of the cases against him,” the source said.

Police handed the case to the Prosecutor’s Office several months ago. It is the decision of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit whether or not to indict the Prime Minister in any of the cases. But according to the source, no indictments will be forthcoming – because prosecutors will not be able to defend the charges that Netanyahu would be indicted on in court. “There are a lot of holes in the testimony, and there is a large gap between the testimony and evidence to back it up,” the source said. “Part of the material we received is nothing but gossip, which we will not be able to use in court. Some of the evidence is incomplete, and further investigation would be needed to flesh them out, and even then it is not clear that there would sufficient evidence to prosecute with.”

The chief allegations against the Prime Minister are in two cases that were under investigation for nearly a year: Case 1000, in which Netanyahu was accused of accepting extravagant gifts from millionaire Arnon Milchin, mostly cigars and champagne, and Case 2000, in which the Prime Minister allegedly leaned on the publishers of Yisrael Hayom to limit distribution of their free newspaper in order to benefit from better coverage in rival newspaper Yediot Acharonot. Police wrapped up the investigations and handed the cases over to prosecutors in February.

Police stopped short of recommending Netanyahu be indicted on the charges, although some police officials were quoted as saying that they believed indictments should be handed down. The material is being evaluated by Mandelblit, and no date for a decision has yet been announced. That date is likely to be far in the future, the source told Channel 20. “There is material and details in the cases that have not been revealed to the public, but they do not constitute definitive evidence that would lead to a conviction in any of the cases. At best, these details need further investigation. This story will be going on for many months.”

With that, the source said that police had done the best they could. “We should not denigrate the work of the police in this case. They definitely built a complete case with many important details, but the final analysis it is up to prosecutors and the Attorney General on what to do with the material supplied by police – and when doing so, you see that bringing this material to court is problematic.”

Responding to the report, the Prosecutor’s Office said that “we are not familiar with these comments, and they certainly do not reflect our position. The cases are currently being analyzed in a professional manner, and only after that work is completed will prosecutors issue their decision on whether the cases are adjudicable. After that the decision will be in the hands of the Attorney General. Any scenario other than the one portrayed is the responsibility of the person who made those comments.”