Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the Jerusalem District Court Monday morning before Judges Rivka Friedman-Feldman, Oded Shaham, and Moshe Baram, for the opening of the evidentiary phase in his trial. Also on hand were Netanyahu’s co-defendants, billionaires Shaul and Iris Elovitch, and Yedioth Aharonoth publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes.
More than a year after three criminal indictments were filed, Netanyahu et al are facing the evidentiary hearings in Case 4000, in which the PM is accused of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. According to the court’s decision, Netanyahu is obliged to be present at the opening statement by the Chief Prosecutor, Deputy State Attorney Liat Ben-Ari.
Ben-Ari presented the charges against the prime minister and the other defendants in the case, explaining to the court the prosecution’s road map to a conviction, and how it intends to substantiate the evidence against the defendants.
“Everyone is equal before the court and the judge, small and big, rich and poor,” Ben-Ari said. “The case before the honorable court today is significant and serious, in the area of government corruption. Defendant 1 is the Prime Minister of Israel, who, according to the indictment, made improper use of the great governmental power entrusted to him, among other things to demand and derive improper benefits from owners of major media outlets in Israel to advance his personal affairs, when his desire was to be re-elected.”
“Defendants 2 through 4 are central and significant business people in the Israeli economy who controlled the media,” the prosecutor said.
Subsequently, the defense attorneys also have the right to make an opening statement before the state presents its evidence.