Hadas Klein, who testified for the prosecution in the corruption trial of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a letter she sent this week to Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara that journalist Eli Tzipori and blogger Avi Weiss were continuing to harass her – a month after she filed a complaint with the police on the matter. Klein asked to take the necessary actions on the matter “as soon as possible.”
Klein said that in addition to the police protection she has received, she also has private security protection 24 hours a day. Klein’s letter was also sent to State Prosecutor Amit Aisman and the chief prosecutor in the Netanyahu cases, Liat Ben-Ari.
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Klein was the personal assistant to billionaires Arnon Milchan and James Packer. She is testifying at the trial in Case 1000 – the lavish gifts affair – in which Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust during the time he served as prime minister. In her testimony, Klein told how Milchan and Packer sent expensive cigars and champagne to Netanyahu and his wife Sara for years through her, at the Netanyahus’ request. Her cross-examination by Amit Hadas, Netanyahu’s lawyer, will continue on September 6, after the end of the courts summer recess.
In spite of the court recess, Klein said in her letter that she continues to suffer from harassment and asked Baharav-Miara to take action against the leaders of the harassment and slander – Tzipori and Weiss. Klein filed a police complaint against Tzipori at the beginning of July, after he tweeted a picture of her home – in which it is possible to ascertain her address. The State Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that Aisman knows of the details of the complaint, but that he and Baharav-Miara have not yet decided whether to summon Tzipori for questioning on suspicion of harassing a witness. The two senior officials must make the decision on the matter because of the sensitivity accompanying the Netanyahu cases and because Tzipori is a journalist.
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After submitting her complaint, Tzipori’s lawyer, Zion Amir, asked Baharav-Miara not to open an investigation. Amir said that Tzipori acted as part of his work as a journalist and an investigation should be avoided to protect the freedom of the press.
Klein wrote in her letter to the three senior legal officials that even before she began testifying, she suffered from harassment and defamation in the media, which she complained about to the police.
Giora Aderet, Klein’s lawyer, said that since she began testifying, “the attacks against her have intensified, she feels threatened and, in addition to police protection, she is guarded privately.” Aderet said that Tzipori and Weiss were the leaders of the harassment, and they publish slander against her frequently on social media.
Aderet added that legally one cannot allow a situation in which “a citizen whose only sin is that she was summoned to testify, is under crude and incessant attacks... Harassing a witness is a serious crime. The state is obligated to protect its witnesses, especially in a trial [covered so greatly in the media], and to allow a witness to testify without fear and freely.”
The State Prosecutor’s Office said: “The matter is still under examination. The harassment of prosecution witnesses is the direct continuation of the attacks on decision makers in the cases – in the police, prosecution and attorney general’s office. This is a severe and improper practice.”
After Haaretz requested a response from Tzipori on the matter, he tweeted that his attorney “has already written to Hadas Klein’s lawyer: ‘Your request is nothing but [an attempt] to silence him’ and to intimidate him … while slandering Tzipori’s name and in an attempt to prevent him from reporting from the courtroom.”