In a meeting held on Sunday night between opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu and his family and Netanyahu's lawyers, it was decided to move towards a plea bargain, Channel 12 News reported.
According to the report, sources close to Netanyahu expressed concern about the harsh public criticism being leveled at Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, and also over the fact that he may have an "opposition" within the State Attorney's Office that would thwart an agreement.
If Mandelblit succeeds in approving the deal before the end of his term at the end of the month, Netanyahu will probably go for the deal, which his lawyers have described as “excellent”.
A senior official in the State Attorney’s Office told Israel National News on Sunday that the chances of Netanyahu reaching a plea bargain with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit are “slim” at best.
“The media has blown this up way beyond what’s really going on. In my opinion, the likelihood of a plea bargain is very small to slim. Practically speaking, there’s barely any time left in which to conclude such a deal,” said the official, who declined to be named.
He added, “Even if Netanyahu’s defense team agree to all the conditions demanded by the Attorney General, including Netanyahu agreeing to leave political life, there would still need to be extensive negotiations between the prosecution and the defense on every little clause and detail, with all the possible nuances taken into account. It’s not nearly as simple as people are making it out to be.”
Earlier on Sunday, it was reported that Netanyahu’s wife Sara is now opposed to a plea bargain, after seemingly considering it seriously last week, insisting that Netanyahu has done nothing illegal and that there is therefore no reason why he should abandon his political career at this point in his life. Since Mandelblit is reportedly insistent on Netanyahu admitting to moral turpitude in any plea bargain scenario, this would effectively end Netanyahu’s career, as it would bar him from public office for the next seven years.
The couple’s two sons, Yair and Avner, would also prefer to see their father fight it out in court to the last. However, Netanyahu’s defense team are leaning toward the plea bargain option, seeing it as the lesser of two evils given the risk that, if found guilty, Netanyahu could be sentenced to a prison term.