Report: Lieberman Will Seek Plea Bargain
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who officially resigned on Sunday over a pending indictment on charges of fraud and breach of trust, will seek a plea bargain, Channel 2 News reported.
According to the report, Lieberman's attorneys are set to begin negotiating such a plea bargain with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. The talks will start on Monday, when Weinstein will meet with Lieberman's lawyer, Attorney Giora Aderet. Earlier reports suggested that Lieberman was unwilling to negotiate a plea bargain.
Lieberman's main concern is that Weinstein will ask the court to rule that there was moral turpitude in his actions, a fact that would prevent him from serving as a minister in the next Knesset. Another thing that would prevent Lieberman from being appointed a Cabinet minister is if the court sentences him to prison. The assessment is that Weinstein will not be willing to compromise on the label of moral turpitude being attached to the charges.
According to Channel 2, Lieberman's "dream plea bargain" would include a moral turpitude label, but at the same time would impose on him only a monetary fine or community service instead of a prison sentence. This type of plea bargain is similar to the one made with former Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who was convicted of perjury, and would only apply to Lieberman's current term in government, meaning he could be reappointed as a Cabinet minister after the next election.
As he handed in his resignation at the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday morning, Lieberman vowed, “I am leaving temporarily.” Once the resignation goes into effect on Tuesday, Lieberman will be replaced as Foreign Minister by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.