Court Grants Likud Officials Time to Make Appeal in Phone Case

YERUSHALAYIM -

Senior aides to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ won additional time to file an appeal against what they say is unjustified search of their phones by police investigators.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Thursday granted Ofer Golan and Jonatan Urich an additional week to prepare their arguments after the court approved on Wednesday limited searches of the phones, to be conducted under close judicial supervision.

In his ruling, Judge Ala Masarwa noted flaws in the police’s handling of the case, in particular search and seizure of the phones without court approval, The Times of Israel reported.

Along with two other Likud officials, Golan and Urich are suspected of harassing Shlomo Filber, a former confidant of Netanyahu who turned state’s witness against the premier.

They have denied any wrongdoing, and Golan this week accused police of ulterior motives, saying, “It is now already clear that this is a political investigation whose goal is to isolate the prime minister from his advisers during the critical period of forming a government and ahead of a decision in the hearing,” Golan said, referring to a court ban on communications between the aides and Netanyahu while the probe is ongoing.