Netanyahu criticizes A-G over hearing

Netanyahu responds to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's decision not to further postpone his pre-indictment hearing.

Hezki Baruch ,

Netanyahu and Mandelblit
Netanyahu and Mandelblit
Marc Israel Sellem

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded on Thursday evening to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's decision not to postpone his pre-indictment hearing in the cases against him.

"The repeat elections that were forced on us in an unprecedented manner are an exceptional event that requires exceptional attention from the law enforcement authorities regarding the date of the hearing," said Netanyahu.

Earlier on Thursday, Mandelblit rejected Netanyahu’s request to further postpone the hearing, which had originally been scheduled for July and was already ordered postponed until early October after Netanyahu’s lawyers successfully argued that they needed the extra time due to the large number of documents to review.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu asked for a further delay, saying that the campaign leading up to new elections on September 17 will make it impossible for him to prepare.

“The dissolution of the Knesset and the holding of new elections can’t in and of themselves constitute a consideration that justifies delaying the hearing date in the investigations concerning the prime minister,” said a letter from Mandelblit’s aide, Gil Limon, sent on Thursday. The letter also said that the attorney general believes his office has allocated enough time for Netanyahu to prepare.

In February, Mandelblit announced his intention pending the hearing to indict Netanyahu in three separate cases on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust for allegedly trading lucrative official favors for gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — the first time a sitting prime minister would face criminal charges.

Netanyahu has denied all the charges and called the investigations a “witch hunt” by the political left and the media.