Day 3 Of Netanyahu Pre-Indictment Hearings Gets Underway

Israelis demonstrate in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the house of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, ahead of the hearing on the corruption cases in which Netanyahu is a suspect, on Oct. 1, 2019. Credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

JERUSALEM (JNS) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legal team arrived at the Justice Ministry on Sunday for the third day of the premier’s pre-indictment hearings. Today’s hearing will deal with Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from billionaire supporters Arnon Milchan and James Packer in exchange for various perks.

Members of Netanyahu’s defense team told the media shortly before Sunday’s hearing began that once the attorney general heard their arguments, “there will be no choice but to close the cases.”

The prime minister’s attorneys made similar claims last week with regard to Case 4000, which was the focus of the first two days of hearings, but state prosecution officials told the Israeli media on Saturday that none of the charges against Netanyahu in Case 4000 had been refuted.

Among the defense team’s arguments was a legal opinion from five American professors, including Alan Dershowitz, stating that making the influencing of media coverage a criminal offense endangers democracy.

In Case 4000, Netanyahu is accused of approving financially beneficial business deals for Walla news and majority Bezeq telecommunications shareholder Shaul Elovitch in exchange for positive coverage in Walla.

In Case 2000, Netanyahu is alleged to have agreed to push legislation harming popular Israeli daily Israel Hayom—owned by then-backer Sheldon Adelson—in exchange for the hiring of pro-Netanyahu reporters by Yedioth Ahronoth.

Netanyahu has adamantly denied guilt in all three cases.

Several hundred people came out to support Netanyahu in protests near the home of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in Petah Tikva on Saturday night. A small group of counter-protesters were also on hand, and the scene was attended by police.

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