Court Won’t Bite on Request for Correction in Mrs. Netanyahu’s Verdict

YERUSHALAYIM -
Ezra Saidoff, suspended deputy director of the Prime Minister’s Office. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Yerushalayim Magistrate’s Court denied a prosecutors’ request to correct the text of the verdict handed down in the case of Mrs. Sara Netanyahu.

Mrs. Netanyahu was found guilty of misusing state funds to order meals illegally. According to Sunday’s verdict, she procured the meals for hosted dignitaries.

But on Monday, the State Prosecutor’s Office told the court it wanted “to correct an erroneous statement that deviates from the facts of the indictment agreed upon in the plea bargain and seeks to clarify that the indictment relates only to private meals and not to official or diplomatic meals,” judicial officials said in a statement quoted by The Times of Israel.

Prosecutors noted that the original indictment mentioned meals that were bought for the Netanyahu family even though there was a full-time chef on staff at the prime minister’s residence.

The prosecutors pointed out that this type of correction would not alter the verdict or the sentence, but it would serve to make it consistent with the case of Ezra Saidoff, a former caretaker at the PM’s Residence who was involved in ordering the meals.

Correcting the verdict will enable the facts “to be uniform for the two defendants in the one case,” prosecutors wrote.

The court denied the correction request, though its reasons for doing so were not immediately made known.

Mrs. Netanyahu was convicted of taking unfair advantage of a mistake, after confessing to the offense as part of a plea deal signed last week. The agreement saw Mrs. Netanyahu escape a conviction of aggravated fraud, but confess to the lesser charge. She will pay NIS 55,000 ($15,210) — NIS 10,000 as a fine and the rest as restitution.

A plea deal with Saidoff is expected to be finalized later this week. He is expected to admit — like Mrs. Netanyahu — to the relatively minor offense of taking unfair advantage of a mistake. Saidoff has reportedly agreed to pay NIS 10,000 ($2,765) and will be given a suspended sentence, according to The Times of Israel.