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ENDGAME

Liberman’s Attorneys Will Bargain for Plea with AG, But Disgrace Charge May Become FM’s Career Ender

Hell hath no fury as an attorney general scorned…
FM Liberman speaking to the media outside the weekly government meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 16, 2012.

Foreign Minister Liberman speaking to the media.
Photo Credit: Alex Kolomoisky / POOL / Flash 90

Attorneys for the former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, whose resignation will take effect this week, will today meet with the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, to examine the possibility of reaching a plea bargain in the case of the ambassador to Belarus.

In 2008 the Israel’s ambassador to Belarus Zeev Ben Aryeh received a request from the prosecution to assist in the investigation of Liberman. Ben Aryeh handed Liberman a copy of the request, which the latter claims he scanned, saw that it was inappropriate for him to read it, then tore up and flushed the document.

Ambassador Ben Aryeh has already been sentenced to 4 months in jail—commuted to community service—for interfering with the investigation.

Despite the fact that Liberman on Friday said he would forgo a plea bargain and go directly to trial, he now, apparently, realized that without a plea bargain the trial couldn’t possibly be over before the elections, which could damage the ability of the accused to participate effectively in his own reelection efforts.

One key element in the prosecution’s demands, whether in a plea deal or in the suit, would be the inclusion of a “kalon” or “disgrace” charge, normally used in cases involving political figures and civil servants. The problem with the “kalon” charge is that, once convicted of it, the accused may not seek political office for a prescribed period of time (seven years, in the case of Likud Knesset candidate Moshe Feiglin).

Sources close to the case are convinced that AG Weinstein is not going to give up the disgrace charge easily, having been forced to close the main case against Liberman for lack of substantial evidence.

That main case, the result of a 6-year investigation, attributed to Liberman charges of money laundering, fraud, deceit, breach of trust, and the acceptance of millions of dollars through foreign companies from Austrian entrepreneur Martin Schlaff and Israeli-Uzbeki businessman Michael Cherney, while serving in public positions.

Hell hath no fury as an attorney general scorned…

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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