Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial resumed on Sunday in the Jerusalem District Court as the three judges, Rebecca Friedman-Feldman, Moshe Bar-Am, and Oded Shaham entertained requests from the defendants Netanyahu, Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Noni Mozes, and former owner of the Bezeq Group, Shaul Elovitch and his wife Iris, for disclosure of investigative materials.
The defendants themselves are exempt from appearing at this phase of the trial.
The prime minister’s attorneys are seeking to amend the indictment against him on the grounds that it is illegally treating Netanyahu’s wife and children as one entity related to him, and attributes to the Prime Minister allegations made against them as if he were the one responsible.
Netanyahu’s claim may be an attempt to postpone the opening of the evidentiary procedure in the case, which is scheduled for early January.
In addition, the attorneys for all the defendants claim that they did not receive the full investigation materials required for their legal defense.
Netanyahu’s lawyers claimed in a request regarding the Case 2000 case, a.k.a. the Netanyahu-Mozes case, the police carried out investigative actions against the prime minister without the approval of the Attorney General and in violation of the Basic Law: The Government, a flaw that may be serious enough to acquit the prime minister in this case.
The Elovitches requested investigative materials regarding state witnesses Nir Hefetz and Shlomo Filber; and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Noni Mozes asked to reveal materials about the wiretapping of Nathan Eshel, a disgraced associate of the prime minister, on suspicion of bribery and obstruction of an investigation.
The prosecution argued that “not only was the ‘core’ of the investigation material transferred to the defendants even before the hearings in the case took place, but also the entire investigation material and more of it than was required by law had been transferred in quite a few cases. The prosecution also re-examined thoroughly and in-depth the defendants’ requests for additional materials, and accordingly it added and handed over a few additional documents to the defendants.”
The State Attorney’s Office stated that the defense is attempting to create an air of a “defect” in the investigation proceedings, as the defendants Netanyahu and Elovitch seek to reverse the process and replace the preliminary proceedings with a hearing on the scope of their right of access to materials, in an attempt to bypass their burden to prove this claim.
“This improper attempt threads through almost all of the defendants’ requests and claims,” the State Attorney’s Office said, stressing that “in the framework of the requests, such and other attempts were made to stretch the scope of the ‘investigation material’ that must be provided to the defendants, all while repeatedly contradicting the Supreme Court’s rulings on the subject, and therefore the requests must be rejected.”
The head of the panel of judges at Netanyahu’s trial, Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman, ruled that the evidentiary hearings will begin in January 2021 and will take place three times a week, on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, or on January 4 at the earliest.
It is understood that PM Netanyahu will be compelled to be present in the courtroom for every single session.