Evidence phase of Netanyahu trial pushed to after election

Judges decide to delay beginning of evidence case in trial against PM to deal with question of how investigations were opened.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Netanyahu in court
Netanyahu in court
Amit Shabi.POOL, Flash 90

The judges in the trial of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided Monday to delay the evidentiary phase of the trial until after next month's Knesset elections.

The decision does not include setting a date for evidentiary hearings in the cases because the judges ruled that the evidentiary phase will take place only after a decision has been made on the question of the original decision by the State Attorney's Office to open investigations against Netanyahu.

The prime minister himself commented on the matter, saying, "I do not think they will rush to the evidence stage before the election."

Netanyahu attended a brief hearing for his trial Monday morning in which he pleaded not guilty to all charges,

The hearing was led by Judge Rivka Feldman-Friedman, and spans all three cases in which Netanyahu has been indicted: Case 1000, Case 2000, and Case 4000. The prime minister stands accused of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in Case 4000, fraud and breach of trust in Case 2000, and fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000.

Later in the hearing, Adv. Boaz Ben-Tzur, the defense attorney for Prime Minister Netanyahu, claimed that the State Attorney's Office did not receive the ombudsman's approval to open an investigation against the prime minister in the manner required by law.

Ben-Zur mentioned that this is a requirement that appears in the Basic Law. "There was contempt on the part of the accuser (the prosecution) about what was being done here. How is the accuser trying to minimize this law, the obligations imposed by law? They are trying to detract from the magnitude of the violation and therefore diminishing the meaning of the law."

"The Basic Law of the Government stipulates a simple provision - a criminal investigation will not be opened against the Prime Minister without the approval of the attorney general. It is the duty of the attorney general to approve the opening of a criminal investigation against the prime minister. It is a constitutional right on the other hand, both of the Prime Minister and of the public, that no criminal investigation will be opened against the Prime Minister without the approval of the attorney general," he added.

He said, "In the first case, there was no permission from the attorney general to investigate. There was permission to investigate a completely different matter. It is a categorical matter. In Case 4000 there is a small matter that does not relate to the substance of the case, This is a fragment on which the investigation conducted independently by the Securities Authority, which investigated the case for months without the approval of the attorney general.

Netanyahu later requested permission to leave Monday’s hearing, with the judges agreeing to his request.