State Prosecutor Rejects Netanyahu's Request to Dismiss Corruption Charges

'There were no defects in the legal process,' state prosecutor says, in response to a request to quash the indictment filed by PM's lawyers over what they claimed was police bias and misconduct during the investigation

Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), wearing a protective face mask, speaks with his lawyer during the first day of his corruption trial, Jerusalem, May 24, 2020.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), wearing a protective face mask, speaks with his lawyer during the first day of his corruption trial, Jerusalem, May 24, 2020.Credit: RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

Israel's state prosecutor rejected a request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to quash his indictment on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, dismissing the defendant's claims that there had been serious errors in the police investigation.

"There were no defects in the process of filing the indictment," a statement from the state prosecutor's office said.  

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On Sunday, Netanyahu's defense attorneys filed a motion with the Jerusalem District Court to dismiss the indictment, arguing in part that their client was immune from prosecution at the time of the events.

In their objections to the indictment against the prime minister, his lawyers, Amit Hadad and Boaz Ben Zur, alleged that the prime minister was targeted in advance and that improper criminal means were used, including pressure exerted on witnesses. 

They claimed that the case constitutes selective enforcement of the law and has been tainted by leaks to the media. The investigators also failed to follow up on any evidence that would have tended to exonerate the prime minister, the lawyers said.

"The investigative material reveals severe acts that call for the indictment to be quashed – a crime that was not investigated, but invented," the court filing stated, also alleging that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit failed to abide by the requirements in filing charges against a member of parliament, and therefore the prime minister is immune from being charged.

The prosecution commented on these allegations, stating that "after hearing the evidence, the factual picture reflecting the truth will become clear to the court. This is in contrast to the skewed and distorted picture now presented by Defendant 1," referring to Netanyahu.

Sources close to the prime minister slammed the state prosecutor's decision, saying it was failing to take responsibility for the "many criminal acts that... polluted the proceedings against the prime minister."

"All the legal antics of the state prosecutor's office cannot hide the fact that there was no criminal offense, but a crime that was invented specifically for Prime Minister Netanyahu," the source added, staying on message.

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