Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday asked the Jerusalem District Court to dismiss the indictments against him in all three cases in which he is being charged – 1,000, 2,000 and 4,000, Israel Hayom reported.
The Prime Minister’s reason for dismissing the indictment: the investigations against him had begun before Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit gave his permission to open an investigation, in violation of Basic Law: Government.
It should be noted that there’s not even a slim chance the court will consider this request seriously, and may end up rebuking the defendant for using delaying tactics, seeing as it is based entirely on the difference between the written and oral approval of the AG to the investigation.
“Since no permits were lawfully issued,” Netanyahu’s lawyers wrote the court, “And, at most, approvals were given after investigative actions had been carried out in relation to each of the charges in the indictment – the indictment against the prime minister should be dropped.”
Netanyahu’s team of lawyers, headed by attorneys Amit Hadad and Boaz Ben Tzur, ask the court to hold an early hearing and order the State Attorney’s Office to “present the Attorney General’s approvals for conducting investigations and investigative actions in relation to each of the charges in the indictment.”
The prime minister’s lawyers are preparing for the possibility that the court would not respond to their request to completely dismiss the indictment, and are therefore asking the three-judge panel to at least prohibit the prosecution from using the materials and evidence obtained before the permit to investigate was issued.
Should Netanyahu’s request be granted, it would be a most dramatic decision, since most of the evidence against Netanyahu was obtained before the written approvals were given. In Case 2000, for instance, it was argued that the permit to open an investigation was given close to a year after police had already begun “substantive investigative actions,” including “interrogation of witnesses from the applicant’s closest environment, attempt to recruit state witnesses, and issuance of search and intrusion orders – including intrusion orders intended to enable eavesdropping on conversations held by the applicant himself (Netanyahu), while he was serving as prime minister of Israel.”
In Case 4000, Netanyahu’s attorneys claim that “more than 250 pieces of evidence, relating to the core of the indictment, were gathered before the Attorney General’s alleged approval was given to open an investigation.”
According to the defense, as early as November 2017, about three months before the approval to open an investigation was given, investigators from the Securities Authority were collecting articles concerning Netanyahu and his wife on the Walla website. Those included mainly articles concerning Sara Netanyahu, for example: “Sara Netanyahu at a school in Lod”; “Sarah Netanyahu in a ceremony in memory of the victims of Tzuk Eitan – our heroic sons”; “With the help of the chef – a fundraising evening for the elderly.”
The State Attorney’s Office last week conceded that there is no documentation of the Attorney General’s early written approval of the investigations, but according to them, this is not necessary, since, as they argued, ”the law does not require that such approvals be documented in writing.”
Netanyahu’s attorneys point out that in other cases, the attorney general attributes great value to documenting approvals or agreements. For example, under the guidance of the Attorney General, who discusses the enactment of regulations that require the approval or consent of a government minister, he writes that “the consent or approval will be given with the signature of the Minister, on a letter addressed to the concerned Minister, or on the margins of the regulations.”
Netanyahu’s attorneys wondered how the AG who insists that regulations “for issuing a fishing license, approvals for pesticides, and regulations of using mineral oil in bread making” require the written consent of a minister, “while the approval of the Attorney General for the investigation of the Prime Minister is not documented at all.”
The State Attorney’s Office claimed that the approvals were given “in meetings held between the heads of the enforcement authorities” and even specified the dates: in Cases 1000 and 2000 cases, the permits were first issued on December 25, 2016; And in Case 4000, the approval was given in early February 2018.
According to Netanyahu’s lawyers, the investigations began long before that.