On Monday, an Israeli court set the date for the start of hearing witnesses during the April 5 trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges.
Netanyahu, the first prime minister to indict him while in office, is facing charges of accepting luxury gifts and seeking to provide regulatory facilities to influential media outlets in return for positive media coverage.
In a brief session held on February 8, during which he appeared before a Jerusalem court, Netanyahu denied the corruption charges against him, and his defense lawyer, the Israeli Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, whom Netanyahu appointed to his position, was accused of mishandling the file.
The two attorneys indicated that the investigation lacks, in part, the necessary permits.
The judges confirmed that they would study the allegations before announcing the dates for the next sessions of the trial.
“I do not think they will quickly move to the stage of evidence before the elections,” Netanyahu said, adding, “This will be seen as a confirmed interference in the elections.”
On Monday, the court announced that it would hold three sessions per week (Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays) without specifying the total length of the sessions.
Among the charges against Netanyahu are obtaining personal benefits by receiving gifts worth 700,000 shekels ($ 213,000) from the Israeli film producer, Arnon Milchan, and 250,000 shekels ($ 72,000) from the Australian billionaire, James Packer.
He is also accused of seeking favorable media coverage in the best-selling daily in Israel, Yediot Aharonot, in addition to being accused of obtaining media coverage on the Walla news website of the Bezeq group owned by Shaul Elovitch in exchange for government services and facilities that returned hundreds of millions of dollars to his group. .
Israeli laws do not grant the prime minister any judicial immunity, and if convicted, he will not be forced to resign until after all judicial means have been exhausted.
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