Next Stage of Netanyahu's Corruption Trial Delayed Until February

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Benjamin Netanyahu in court, May 2020.
Benjamin Netanyahu in court, May 2020.Credit: Amit Shabi

The Jerusalem District Court announced on Tuesday that the next stage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial, which had been set to begin in January, has been delayed until February, due to several preliminary issues.

The panel of judges agreed on Tuesday to extend the deadline for Netanyahu's defense attorneys to file a formal response to the indictment against him until January 13, after they demanded additonal material from the investigation against the prime minister. That, in turn, will delay the proceedings. The judges ordered that a hearing on December 6 include all preliminary allegations, including the claim by the defense that the indictment was severely flawed and needed to be amended. 

The lawyers were originally due to file a response to the indictment by October 18, but the deadline was deferred until November 29, before being extended again on Tuesday.

The next stage of the trial is the evidentiary phase, in which the prosecution presents evidence against Netanyahu. The prime minister, who denies any wrongdoing, is charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases before the court.

Earlier this month, Netanyahu's attorneys filed a request to amend the indictment against him, claiming "the presence of serious flaws" that were included "not by happenstance."

The prime minister's lawyers had also previously argued that the trial should be delayed due to coronavirus health restrictions, saying that it would be difficult to see whether a masked witness was "telling the truth." 

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