«Israel» AG: Bibi Pre-Indictment Hearing Must be Held by July 10
By Staff, Agencies
The “Israeli” entity’s Attorney General said Sunday that a pre-indictment hearing for “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing corruption charges in three separate criminal cases, must be held by mid-July and cannot be postponed.
The preliminary hearing had been scheduled to take place no later than four months after investigation documents pertaining to the cases were released to the defense, or some time before July 10.
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit had agreed, at Netanyahu’s request, that the evidence not be released before the “Israeli” entity’s April 9 national election due to the concern that they would be released to the media for political purposes.
But Netanyahu’s attorneys had complained that they have not yet been paid for their services and therefore require more time to retrieve the evidence and prepare their defense.
In a letter to Netanyahu's legal team made public Sunday evening, Mendelblit ruled out a postponement of the hearing date writing that their payment is not under the purview of the attorney general and does not justify a delay.
Mendelblit also set a May 10 deadline for the defense to schedule a date for the pre-indictment hearing.
"The issue of the fees," Mandelblit said in the letter, "does not justify any delay in transfer of the most important material to the prime minister or his lawyers and in any event does not effect the date of the hearing".
On February 28, Mandelblit announced his intent to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three criminal corruption investigations that have plagued the longtime premier for years.
Netanyahu was slapped with the most laden charges -- bribery, fraud and breach of trust -- in "Case 4,000", in which police suspect that Netanyahu granted regulatory benefits to telecommunications giant Bezeq in exchange for positive news coverage by the Walla news website, which is owned by Bezeq’s controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch.
He faces fraud and breach of trust charges in the other two cases, known as Case 1,000 and Case 2,000.
In Case 1,000, Netanyahu is suspected of accepting illicit gifts from a number of wealthy benefactors in exchange for political favors and preferential treatment.
"Case 2,000" centers on a quid-pro-quo arrangement with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes to limit circulation of the newspaper's main rival in exchange for more favorable coverage.
Netanyahu has slammed the announcement of his indictment pending a hearing as a "witch hunt" orchestrated by the media and left-wing in order to topple him and has vowed that he will not step down even if brought to trial.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s far-right allies have confirmed ahead of cabinet negotiations with the newly re-elected premier that it would propose as part of its legislative agenda a measure granting automatic immunity from prosecution to all sitting members of parliament [MK’s].
The legislation, if passed, would shield the prime minister from indictment while in office.