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Israel: Netanyahu’s request to postpone trial rejected

March 11, 2020 at 9:47 am

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, 10 March 2020 [Twitter]

Israeli District Court in Jerusalem yesterday rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to delay his corruption trial, local media reported.

According to Israel Hayom, the trial will begin as planned on 17 March, stating that the court said the first session would be procedural with charges being read; therefore, there is no justification for a delay.

The prime minister’s lawyers had appealed for a 45-day postponement in order to have enough time to review the evidence.

Israeli media reported Netanyahu’s lawyers saying they did not receive the investigation documents, but the state prosecutor said that the documents were ready but they had not been collected.

OPINION: What will the repercussions be of a Netanyahu election victory?

Netanyahu’s legal crisis stood at the centre of last week’s third inconclusive Israeli election in less than a year, where he has failed to achieve majority in the Knesset, negotiations are now continuing regarding how to form a coalition which will keep him in power.

The Israeli newspaper reported that Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s opponent, refused to sit with him in government and appears poised to push for legislation in the incoming days that would bar anyone indicted of a crime from being able to lead a government.

Netanyahu’s re-election bid has been complicated by his indictment on charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud over allegations he granted state favours worth millions of dollars to Israeli media barons in return for favourable press coverage, and that he wrongfully received gifts.

Netanyahu's corruption scandal - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Netanyahu’s corruption scandal – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]