State Witness Filber Finishes Testimony in Netanyahu Trial

The prosecution tries to prove that Netanyahu instructed the former Communication Ministry top official, Shlomo Filber, to give regulatory concessions to the telecom Bezeq in exchange for favorable news coverage

Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Shlomo Filber at the Jerusalem District Court, in May.
Shlomo Filber at the Jerusalem District Court, in May.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

After three months of intermittent testimony in the corruption trial against former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Shlomo Filber, one-time director-general of the Communications Ministry, stepped down from the witness stand in Jerusalem District Court for the last time on Wednesday.

Prior to the trial, Filber agreed to turn state’s evidence against Netanyahu, who is on trial in three cases, including Case 4000, which involves allegations that he gave regulatory concessions to Bezeq in exchange for favorable news coverage from its Walla news site. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in this case and two others.

One major aspect of Filber’s testimony revolved around the timing of a meeting between him and the then-prime minister, at which the prosecution has sought to show that Netanyahu asked Filber to take a particular policy line regarding Bezeq. On Filber’s final day of testimony, prosecutor Judith Tirosh questioned him about a meeting on June 3, 2015, four days before he was officially appointed director general.

Tirosh asked Filber about a document indicating that he was not on the phone between 7:43 P.M. and 11:36 P.M. on that day. Filber acknowledged in response that this may have been when the meeting in question took place, but said that it lasted no more than 20 minutes. “If it did in fact take place at 8 P.M., there’s no reason that I wouldn’t have my phone until 11 P.M.,” he said.

But he questioned the date of the meeting, saying he came to the meeting with a document from the ministry that he would not have had access to prior to taking over as director general.

Tirosh also questioned him about a binder in which the prosecution claims Filber wrote down the alleged instructions from Netanyahu following their meeting. The defense contends, however, that the binder contained information that Netanyahu couldn’t have known about at the time and that the notes were written in preparation for the meeting with the prime minister.

Also at issue in the case has been the prosecution’s claim that Filber’s testimony on the stand was much more favorable to Netanyahu than under questioning by investigators. Tirosh questioned Filber on Wednesday about an alleged follow-up conversation on June 13, about which he was cross-examined. Under cross-examination, he expressed certainty about the interpretation of a particular conversation. On the stand on Wednesday, however, Filber backtracked on the use of the word “certainty,” which he had used earlier.

The next witness in the case is expected to be Shai Hayek, Netanyahu’s former political spokesman, who is scheduled to testify on Monday.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op