Evidence Phase in Netanyahu Trial to Begin January 2021, Three Times a Week

Netanyahu's attorney asks court to delay corruption trial due to coronavirus: 'It's hard to tell if a masked witness is telling the truth'

Netael Bandel
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Liat Ben-Ari, prosecutor in Netanyahu corruption trial (center) at the Jerusalem District court, July 19, 2020
Liat Ben-Ari, prosecutor in Netanyahu corruption trial (center) at the Jerusalem District court, July 19, 2020Credit: Reuven Castro
Netael Bandel

The second hearing in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial opened on Sunday at the Jerusalem District Court, with the premier’s attorney asking the court to delay the trial for six months due to the coronavirus.   

One of Netanyahu's lawyers, Yossi Segev, said “it will be hard for me to face a masked witness and see if he’s telling the truth.”

LISTEN: Protests, pandemics and Netanyahu's day of reckoningCredit: Haaretz

The hearing focused on the additional amount of time to be given to Netanyahu’s lawyers to study the case's investigative materials.

The panel of judges, headed by Rivka Friedman-Feldman, Moshe Bar-Am and Oded Shaham, ruled that in this second hearing only the defense attorneys would be present, not the accused.

The Jerusalem District Court on Salah ad-Din Street, East Jerusalem, where Benjamin Netanyahu's trial will be held
The Jerusalem District Court on Salah ad-Din Street, East Jerusalem, where Benjamin Netanyahu's trial will be heldCredit: Emil Salman

Friedman-Feldman determined that the evidentiary phase will begin in January 2021, with three sessions a week.

>> Read more: Attorney general orders prosecutor to speed up evidentiary phase of Netanyahu trial

The first hearing on this issue was held in May, during which it was agreed that Netanyahu’s lawyers would be given two months, after which the court would move on to discuss the timeline of the trial.

Netanyahu’s team of lawyers, headed by Amit Hadad, argued that they should receive considerably more time to study the material, which they say is extensive and riddled with errors the prosecution made in organizing it. 

In the previous hearing, attorney Micha Fettman, who has since announced he would be leaving the premier’s legal defense team over unpaid fees, argued that the evidentiary phase of the trial should begin only in March 2021. 

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