Netanyahu rules out plea bargain

Israeli Prime Minister says there is 'no way' he'd ever accept plea bargain arrangement after his trial begins. 'It's time for the truth'.

David Rosenberg ,

Netanyahu addresses reporters ahead of trial hearing
Netanyahu addresses reporters ahead of trial hearing
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected Sunday night the possibility of agreeing to a plea bargain arrangement with prosecutors in any of the three cases against him.

Speaking in an interview with Israel’s Channel 20 Sunday evening, just hours after the opening of his trial, Netanyahu said there was “no way” he would agree to any kind of plea bargain.

“We’re not here to make deals,” said Netanyahu. “We’re here to reveal the truth,” the prime minister continued, accusing prosecutors of violating the law during their corruption probes which culminated in the trial.

“The focus of the trial will be what the prosecution did, what the police did, what they did in these illegal investigations. What they did in inventing these absurd allegations. That is what is going to be on trial.”

“For me, the most important thing is for the public to hear this. What’s why I requested that the trial be broadcast live, so that everything will be out there. Not selectively edited by fake news channels.”

During the interview, Netanyahu again accused prosecutors and investigators of attempting to subvert the ‘will of the people’, referencing the results of the most recent Knesset election, in which the Likud party won a plurality of 36 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

“The results of the election are a tremendous show of [public] faith in me, in my path, by the public that I represent, and an unprecedented vote of no confidence in the group that came up with and executed these baseless indictments, who set these cases up.”

The trial, which opened Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at the Jerusalem District Court, marks the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been put on trial.

A total of 333 witnesses have been registered for the trial, which is expected to last more than three years – not including the appeals process, should Netanyahu not be cleared of all the charges.

Netanyahu has been charged with bribery in the Case 4000 investigation, relating to claims he sped up regulatory reforms to benefit Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch in exchange for favorable coverage from the Walla media outlet, also owned by Elovitch.

In addition, the prime minister has been indicted on charges of fraud and breach of trust – though not bribery – in the Case 1000 investigation, which revolves around some 700,000 shekels-worth of gifts, including cigars, champagne, and jewelry, allegedly given to the prime minister and his family by wealthy businessmen. Netanyahu also faces breach of trust charges in Case 2000, in which he allegedly worked to undermine the Israel Hayom newspaper for the benefit of its rival, Yediot Aharonot.