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Israeli PM Agrees to Attend Hearing in Corruption Cases

Israeli PM Agrees to Attend Hearing in Corruption Cases

Wednesday, 12 June, 2019 - 08:30
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to attend the scheduled hearing on corruption charges after previously refusing and demanding a postponement.

Netanyahu's attorney Amit Hadad informed attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, that the PM would attend the hearing on October 2.

Hadad said that Netayahu will come to the hearing, but “it would have been right to reconsider the date and delay it.”

The attorney insisted that his client is “innocent” and complained of “dozens of missing documents.”

“We believe there are significant arguments justifying postponing the [hearing] date.”

With that, Netanyahu's lawyer explained that he would not go to court against Mandelblit.

The indictment is expected to be announced in December, and until then, Netanyahu will wage new parliamentary elections on September 17.

The PM wants to win the polls in order to fight his legal battle. If he is again victorious, appointed PM and succeeds in forming a coalition government of right-wing parties, he will seek to postpone the trial by enacting new laws to prevent his trial, revealed sources close to Netanyahu.

Moreover, Netanyahu refuses to appoint a person from outside his party as minister of justice in his interim government because he wants someone he can trust.

Sources at the United Right Party said Netanyahu's envoy in the coalition negotiations informed them that the PM can not appoint the party’s candidate for justice portfolio because he wants a guaranteed figure prepared to do whatever necessary to support him face judicial proceedings.

Furthermore, sources close to the premier revealed he is currently focused on searching for new lawyers, after his attorney Navot Tel-Zur and three others stepped down from his defense team.

He asked several lawyers to represent him in court, however, a number of them refused because he does not want to fund his defense costs. In addition, it was difficult for him to obtain permit to raise money from businessmen close to him and his debts to lawyers who had previously represented him were accumulating.

He tried to solve the problem by looking for lawyers who would wait until the judicial proceedings are over. The court is likely to be persuaded to allow him to collect donations to cover the expenses of his legal representation.

Netanyahu claims he is facing cases where the prosecution is spending hundreds of millions of shekels in expenses. He argues it is unreasonable to deprive him from raising funds for his defense. But the competent judicial authorities considered such donations public bribery and say that Netanyahu is rich enough to fund his trial from his own pocket.

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