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Lieberman to Take The Stand in Corruption Trial

Former Foreign Minister will take the stand in his own defense as corruption trial reaches its peak.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/29/2013, 9:19 AM

Avigdor Lieberman
Avigdor Lieberman
Flash 90

The trial against former Foreign Minister and current MK Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beytenu party that merged with the Likud,  will reach its peak Wednesday with testimony from Lieberman himself.

Lieberman is facing charges of fraud and breach of trust over the appointment of Ambassador Ze’ev Ben Aryeh. He allegedly recommended Ben Aryeh for a post in exchange for receiving details from Ben Aryeh regarding a police inquiry.

Lieberman is expected to argue that he did not influence Ben Aryeh’s appointment in any way.

Ben Aryeh has already testified at the trial. His testimony changed over the course of the trial, leading the judge to label him a hostile witness.

Prosecutors are expected to demand that Lieberman respond to the testimony from Ben Aryeh. Testimony from former Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who worked under Lieberman, is expected to be brought up as well.

Ayalon has become Lieberman’s foremost attacker. He has been accused of attacking the former Foreign Minister in court as a form of revenge for being omitted from the party's list for the current Knesset by Lieberman, a charge he vehemently denies.

Ayalon recently argued that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to save the Foreign Ministry post for Lieberman if he is found innocent could cause a subversion of justice. Former employees will fear to testify against Lieberman knowing he could return to head the ministry in the near future, he said.

Senior sources in the Foreign Ministry rejected Ayalon’s arguments, stating that the Foreign Minister does not have significant power over minister employees.