Netanyahu Prosecutors Given Until Next Week to Examine Pegasus Accusations

Prosecutors were initially given a day to respond to a report that police used NSO's Pegasus spyware to hack the phones of associates of former Prime Minister Netanyahu and witnesses in his corruption trial

Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit
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Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his lawyers in the Jerusalem District Court, in November.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his lawyers in the Jerusalem District Court, in November.Credit: Oren Ben Hakoon
Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit

The judges in former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial agreed on Tuesday to give prosecutors more time to look into allegations that police unlawfully used spyware to hack into the phones of key witnesses, delaying the trial to next week.

The court initially cancelled a hearing scheduled to take place on Tuesday, and gave prosecutors until 2 P.M. to submit their response to a Monday report by financial daily Calcalist, according to which Israel Police used NSO's Pegasus spyware to hack the phones of public figures, including associates of Netanyahu and those involved in his criminal cases.

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Following an additional request by prosecutors, the Jerusalem District Court allowed them four more days to complete their examination of the allegations, meaning Wednesday's planned hearing would be canceled too.

Unless delayed further, the trial will resume on Monday.

The hacking tool was used without a court order and against Netanyahu's son Avner Netanyahu, co-defendant in his criminal trial Iris Elovitch, leaders of disability rights protests, journalists at the Walla news website, business mogul Rami Levy, mayors and senior officials in the Finance Ministry, according to the report.

Netanyahu's media advisers, Topaz Luk and Yonatan Urich have also been targeted, alongside Head of Workers' Union Yair Katz, the report said.

Defense lawyers in Netanyahu's corruption trial asked the court on Sunday to postpone the testimony of state’s witness Shlomo Filber, after police admitted last week that it used spyware to access the contents of Filber’s cellphone.

Netanyahu is accused of instructing Filber, the director general of the Communications Ministry at the time, to promote the regulatory interests of the Bezeq telecommunications company in exchange for favorable coverage for the prime minister and his family on the Walla news website, which Bezeq owned at the time.

Filber’s testimony is scheduled to next Monday, following the testimonies of the ministry’s legal adviser Dana Neufeld and Shai Hayek, Netanyahu’s former political spokesman.

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