Netanyahu’s request to skip opening of his trial rejected

The State Attorney’s Office said it saw no reason to grant the prime minister’s request.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s State Attorney’s Office rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to skip the opening of his corruption trial, on Tuesday. The trial is set to begin next Sunday, May 24.

“There are no reasons presented in the request to justify the unusual outcome of the defendant’s absence from the opening of his trial,” the state prosecutor wrote in reply to the prime minister’s request.

“It should be clarified that this reply relates only to the initial hearing of the reading [of the charges], and it is understood that the statement does not offer a position with regard to other requests, if and to the extent that they are submitted, in relation to other types of hearings.

“Therefore, the prosecution does not see room to alter the Honorable Court’s decisions regarding the defendants’ attendance at the [initial] reading hearing.”

Netanyahu had asked to be exempt from the opening hearing on the grounds that: 1) The hearing is largely technical and his attorney can assure the court that he has read and understands the charges 2) Netanyahu’s presence will incur unnecessary costs in connection with his security as he travels to and from the court, and 3) Netanyahu’s absence will allow more attorneys to be present in the room.

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The second reason regarding cost has raised eyebrows among media pundits given the ink spilled over the fact that the unity government that has just been inaugurated is the largest, and will be the most expensive, in Israel’s history at a time when many average Israelis are struggling financially under the strain of corona regulations.