Netanyahu’s trial postponed for the third time

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The Jerusalem District Court on Monday ordered a postponement of an additional week in the public corruption trial of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following two earlier postponements.

The trial has been frozen since June 16 and will now resume on July 19 instead of the previous dates of July 5 or 12 to resume testimony from witnesses from July 5.

Basically, the court ruling means the case will not really resume its course until October, as the court’s summer recess runs from July 21 to September 1 and many September hearings will be canceled due to the holidays. Jewish fall, although there may be a few audiences.

Essentially, the extra weeks of delay are the product of a disagreement between the prosecution and the defense over how to handle the new documents that will be added to the trial from the cell phone of former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua.

Previously, the prosecution and defense had spent the months of April, May and June presenting in court a lot of evidence from Yeshua’s cell phone regarding Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla media corruption case.

The prosecution alleged that Netanyahu used his powers to favor Bezeq in telecommunications policy in return for favorable media coverage from the Walla news site – both companies being owned by co-accused Shaul Elovich.

However, as extensive as the previous evidence from Yeshua’s cell phone related to Case 4000, the prosecution focused on the text messages between Yeshua and Netanyahu’s messengers or Shaul and Iris Elovich and did not delve into the messages. that Yeshua sent to other politicians or third parties.

Until the court in mid-June ordered the prosecution to search these text messages and provide new documents to the defense, the state’s position was that these documents were not were irrelevant to the case.

In contrast, the defense argued that such documents could show that Yeshua and Walla gave special treatment to many politicians who interacted directly with him as CEO, and not just Netanyahu.

They hope this defense will refute any accusation of corruption.

The prosecution’s argument is that this doesn’t help Netanyahu because he alone, among all politicians, made a deal with Elovich to systematically influence coverage of Walla for four years from 2013 to 2016 and used powers. government to “pay” for this bias. blanket.

Defense lawyers accidentally received text messages between Yeshua and other politicians from the prosecution, but apparently there are many more documents that they did not receive, which the court found relevant.

The final dispute between the defense and the prosecution is that the state says that since it is now also seeing this material for the first time, not only the new evidence should benefit the defense, but the prosecution as well.

In contrast, the defense argued that the prosecution is the powerful body that controls evidence.

The defense said that while the prosecution has not used this evidence for its case against Netanyahu so far, it cannot now get a “second apple bite” simply because the defense forced it to. provide new evidence useful to the defense, which the prosecution had previously withheld.

The resolution of whether the prosecution can use new anti-Netanyahu evidence it finds has been postponed to a later date, but simply the dispute itself has delayed the prosecution in handing over documents to the defense of several. weeks.

In addition, searching the documents took longer than the prosecution expected.

All of this means that Yeshua’s testimony is unlikely to end until October.

Earlier in June, the prosecution said it never claimed that it searched for all other politicians and power agents in Yeshua’s text messages, but that this was irrelevant and could constitute a major danger to the privacy of a large number of people.

The prosecution said there were around 150,000 lines of content that had not been transferred, implying that the defense just wanted a fishing expedition to embarrass a large number of people who were not part of the ‘case.

The court rejected these arguments at the time.


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