Court Won’t Grant Former MAG Hearing Before Closing His Case

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Cabinet secretary Avichai Mendelblit.

The High Court of Justice on Sunday rejected a petition by Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mendelblit demanding that the attorney general grants him a hearing before deciding on what grounds to close a criminal case against him.

Last year, Mendelblit was questioned under caution in the so-called Harpaz affair over alleged offenses committed in his former role as military advocate general. The affair revolved around a forged document aimed at influencing the choice of the next Israel Defense Forces chief of staff.

The police suggested indicting him for breach of trust and obstructing justice, because in August 2010 he briefly delayed giving Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein a copy of the document, which police were seeking so they could investigate the affair.

Weinstein is widely expected to reject this recommendation and close the case, but Mendelblit wants him to do so on the grounds that no crime was committed rather than due to insufficient evidence. If the case is closed only due to insufficient evidence, that could force Mendelblit to resign as cabinet secretary and also bar him from entering the race to succeed Weinstein as attorney general.

But Justice Isaac Amit ruled his petition premature, saying there were no grounds for deviating from the usual rule that first, the attorney general should announce his reasons for closing the case, and then, if Mendelblit is dissatisfied with the decision, he can appeal it.

“It’s not the court’s custom in intervene in the judgment of the prosecution and the attorney general regarding whether or not to indict,” Amit wrote.

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