Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday that he planned to submit a request to have the indictment against him in Case 4000 canceled. Netanyahu stands accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with the communications company Bezeq and its Walla website.
Netanyahu is expected to claim that contrary to the requirement of the law, the investigation against him began before it had been approved by the attorney general.
Netanyahu had sought once before – during the preliminary phase of the trial – to have the indictment withdrawn on the same grounds. However, the judges postponed any decision until the completion of the evidentiary stage of the hearings, saying that “at the end of the procedure we will consider whether there is justification, given the circumstances of the case, to disqualify [the indictment] due to the lack of admissibility of evidence in Cases 1000 and 4000, to the extent that it is determined that investigative work was carried out prior to the attorney general’s consent.”
Prosecutors are expected in the next few days to release the names of the second group of witnesses to be called up in the trial, which is slated to begin next month.
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Netanyahu’s attorney Boaz Ben Zur, has asked that police investigators be included in this group so that Netanyahu’s claim can be heard in court. Ben Zur’s cross-examination of them is expected to try to prove that investigative work was undertaken before the attorney general had approved it.
Netanyahu’s petition is similar to one filed on Wednesday by Shaul and Iris Elovitch, who have been indicted for bribing Netanyahu while he was prime minister. Shaul Elovitch was the controlling shareholder of Bezeq at the time the alleged Case 4000 offenses occurred.
The couple’s petition details a series of faults and omissions they alleged occurred in preparing the indictment and in the criminal proceedings against them.
“The investigation was tainted from the start,” the petition states. “The investigators spared nothing and employed predatory tools against the petitioners and against other witnesses and suspects. Harmful and prohibited acts and investigative measures were carried out during the course of the probe; property belonging to the petitioners was seized in violation of the law; the power of arrest and [pressure on] family members were applied improperly to break the spirit of those under investigation; the suspects were questioned under the most difficult conditions in violation of the law.”