Mandelblit Nixes Broadcast of PM’s Hearing, Rebukes Lawyers

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit (Flash90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏’s request for a live broadcast of his pre-indictment hearings.

“The request is unprecedented and without legal basis,” Mandelblit was quoted by Channel 13 news as writing to Netanyahu’s lawyers. The request was submitted earlier on Thursday, and after briefly considering it, Mandelblit replied in the negative.

Netanyahu’s lawyers had argued that the October 2-3 hearing was for the benefit of the defendant, to present his side of the case against him before formal filing of an indictment.

In a video statement, Netanyahu argued that “after a three-year flood of tendentious, partial media leaks, the time has come for the public to hear everything, including my side.

“I am therefore asking the attorney-general to open up the hearing for live broadcast … You know that transparency delivers the truth.”

However, Mandelblit responded that a live broadcast of the proceedings would adversely affect the integrity of the process, even if the defendant waives his right to privacy. Moreover, the purpose of the hearing is not “to convince the public,” he said.

In the letter, the attorney general rebuked the prime minister’s lawyers for their handling of the matter.

“It would have been better if instead of raising futile requests that you well know will not be accepted, you fulfilled the mandatory instructions for the hearing process, in particular, sending in reasoned and detailed main arguments” in the case.

That reference was to a one-page document submitted to Mandelblit instead of the expected comprehensive papers summarizing their client’s defense.

Earlier on Thursday, the High Court threw out a petition for the pre-indictment hearing to be cancelled on the grounds that the unusually terse presentation made a mockery of the legal process, according to media reports.