Netanyahu’s Lawyer Could Have Conflict of Interest, Israel Police Say

Retired Judge Oded Mudrik could have a conflict of interest in his role as head of a disciplinary tribunal in a case involving the police

Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel
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Oded Mudrik, in 2015
Oded Mudrik, in 2015Credit: דודו בכר
Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

Police contend that retired Judge Oded Mudrik, who has recently become Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyer, could have a conflict of interest in his role as head of a disciplinary tribunal in a case involving the police.

The tribunal Mudrik heads is hearing a disciplinary complaint against a police officer, T, who once filed a sexual harassment complaint against former police Maj. Gen. Roni Ritman. Ritman, before resigning amid sexual harassment allegations, had headed the prestigious police unit Lahav 433, which had been investigating the corruption allegations against Netanyahu.

The case Mudrik is hearing against T. involves not observing clocking-in regulations and for conduct unbecoming a police officer when she said of other policewomen that “they’re stupid and don’t understand anything about life.” According to the police, the conflict of interest exists because some of the officers scheduled to testify to the tribunal were involved in the Netanyahu investigations.

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Recently there were media reports hinting that the prime minister’s associates might have been behind T.’s earlier struggles against Ritman. As a result, Mudrik asked both sides, the police and T., if they saw any problem with him continuing as head of the disciplinary tribunal.

T. last week told the tribunal that reports hinting that the prime minister was somehow behind the battle she had waged against Ritman were false. “These insinuations have no grain of truth and constitute a serious libel,” she said. Removing Mudrik would disrupt the proceedings, she contended. T. also asked for the police to clarify that “there’s no grounds for linking Supt. T. to the prime minister.”

But the police refused to do this. In the response submitted Sunday the police wrote that it was true that, “Representatives of the prosecution are not involved in the investigations of the prime minister and are not exposed to the materials collected by them, so they cannot express a firm position on the question the head of the tribunal has asked them.”

However, the police also said that during the disciplinary hearings, there will be witnesses for the plaintiff [the police] that are involved in the prime minister’s investigations, “Which could raise a concern of conflict of interest, if only seemingly,” given that the presiding jurist is now the prime minister’s lawyer. The police also argued that in previous hearings T. and her commander had indicated that they planned to summon both former Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh and Ritman himself to testify. This would certainly pose a conflict of interest, given that Ritman had headed Lahav 433 during the Netanyahu investigations.

T. on Sunday called the whole disciplinary procedure “a vengeful pursuit against her.”

At a conference two weeks ago Mudrik said that since he started working for the prime minister, he was examining all his activities to avoid being involved in anything that would pose a conflict of interest or be otherwise inappropriate.

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