Lieberman's Trial to Start February 17

A Jerusalem court sets February 17 as the opening date for former Foreign Minister's trial on corruption charges.

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Elad Benari,

Avigdor Lieberman
Avigdor Lieberman
Flash 90

A Jerusalem court on Sunday set February 17 as the opening date for former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's trial on corruption charges.

The case will be heard by a panel of three judges, according to a copy of the ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court quoted by AFP.

The panel will be headed by the court's vice-president, Hagit Mack-Kalmanovich. Also serving will be judges Yitzchak Shimoni and Eitan Kornhauser.

Lieberman is suspected of having suggested in December 2009 that the government name Ambassador Ze'ev Ben Aryeh, the former ambassador to Belarus, to a post in another country, despite the fact that -- according to the evidence presented -- he knew that he had done wrong in passing along secret information, including details of a police inquiry against Lieberman.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein had announced his decision to indict Lieberman in the case, resulting in Lieberman's resignation.

After Lieberman stepped down, the Justice Ministry announced the investigation was re-opened following media reports that "Lieberman may have been involved in the appointment of the ambassador at a level exceeding that which was attributed to him by the facts in the indictment."

Testimony given by Lieberman’s former Deputy Minister, Danny Ayalon, has indicated that Lieberman was not only aware of the expected appointment but also worked and pushed for the appointment to be approved at the Appointments Committee of the Foreign Ministry.

Lieberman hinted several weeks ago that if he is convicted of corruption charges, he will not stay in politics, but added that he is confident that he will beat the charges brought against him.