Hearing for Netanyahu in Cases Moved to October

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The hearing for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on charges of corruption that he is facing will take place in October, State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit informed Netanyahu’s attorneys in a letter Wednesday. The attorneys on Monday had requested a delay due to the large amount of material that needed to be processed.

The date for the hearing had been set for July 10. It was only last week that Netanyahu’s attorneys began reviewing the case material relating to the four cases in which Netanyahu has been accused of various levels of corruption or breach of trust. The material includes files, recordings, testimonies, transcripts of police interrogations, and more.

This is the third, and most likely final postponement Mandelblit is likely to give Netanyahu. Originally set for February, the hearing was postponed because of the election, and was set for July 10. But although the material was ready, Netanyahu’s attorneys did not begin examining it until last week because of financial issues. That issue was tied up with a ruling by courts earlier this year that Netanyahu could not raise money privately for his defense, a ruling the Prime Minister vehemently disputed.

The hearing is meant to allow Netanyahu’s attorneys to present their case in light of the evidence; if the evidence is not strong enough, there is a good chance the charges will not be filed. The hearing provides Netanyahu’s attorneys with an opportunity to do an in-depth review of the evidence in the case and to depose the witnesses to determine the accuracy or import of their testimony.

Mandelblit has recommended that charges ranging from corruption to breach of trust be filed in Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is accused of accepting extravagant gifts from millionaire Arnon Milchin, mostly cigars and champagne; 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; and Case 4000, also known as the Bezeq-Walla News Case, an influence-peddling probe that alleges that Netanyahu offered his good services to Israeli billionaire Shaul Elovich in return for positive coverage on the Walla news site. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that the charges are nonsense, and that the truth would come out when his attorneys have an opportunity to examine the evidence.

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