Jerusalem court rejects Netanyahu request to postpone hearing in corruption cases

Jerusalem District Court says Netanyahu’s defense lawyers had enough time to prepare for resumption of corruption trial next week.

By World Israel News Staff

The panel of judges overseeing the corruption trial of Prime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a request for a delay so his lawyers would have extra time to study new material.

Netanyahu’s defense team had petitioned the Jerusalem District Court for more time to review the implications of amendments to the charges that accuse the prime minister of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

“For the record, it should be noted that the legal significance of the amended indictment is being reviewed in relation to the immunity law for lawmakers, their rights and obligations, and Netanyahu reserves his rights on the matter,” the lawyers said according to the Haaretz report.

The judges ruled that defense lawyers were in possession of the original indictment for over a year and that the amendments to the charge sheet were not substantial enough to warrant a delay.

The change in the indictment involved a case accusing the premier of giving political favors in return for positive media coverage, dividing the charges into those alleging Netanyahu’s personal requests from those made by his family members.

Two weeks ago the lawyers had asked the court to dismiss the charges against Netanyahu, saying the investigation began without the written approval of the attorney general to conduct the investigation, as required by law.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit denied he had given approval retroactively, telling the court he gave verbal authorization for the police investigation and had not written it down, but had documented the office meetings at which the decision was made.

However, the judges ruled in favor of Netanyahu, saying the documents given to the court by Mandelblit were not in the proper format and therefore did not show proof that Mandelblit had approved the probe in advance, the report said, with the judges agreeing that the documents had to be handed over to Netanyahu’s defense team.