The corruption trial for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resumed in Jerusalem on Monday, after being postponed last month.
According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu and other defendants, Shaul and Iris Elovitch and Arnon Mozes arrived at the Jerusalem District Court amid heavy security.
In line with Netanyahu’s normal security arrangements, snipers were positioned on nearby roofs.
It is the second time Netanyahu attends a hearing of his trial in person.
He verbally confirmed the defense filed by his lawyers, who declined to add verbal arguments to their lengthy written response filed to the court last month.
Formally denying the charges against him, the premier stood up and told the court: “I confirm the response filed by my lawyers.”
The head judge in the case, Rivka Friedman-Feldman, then said whoever wants to leave can leave, but Netanyahu chose to stay.
The lawyers are expected to focus on procedural arguments such as the alleged lack of sufficient approval to launch the initial investigations and to issue search warrants for material, as well as a range of other defense claims in the case itself regarding the “precedential” nature of many of the charges.
Perhaps more importantly, the court will also discuss the timetable for the evidentiary stage of the trial, including whether its start will be postponed until after the March 23 Knesset elections and whether and to what extent Netanyahu will have to physically attend the expected three long hearings per week, which would consume much of his time, while he also manages the country.
Netanyahu faces charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in Case 4000, which involves suspicions that he granted regulatory favoUrs benefiting Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Bezeq telecoms, in exchange for positive coverage of the prime minister and his family from the Bezeq-owned Walla news site.
Elovitch and his wife, Iris, also face bribery charges in the case, and will also attend Monday’s hearing.
Netanyahu also faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000, as well as in Case 2000. The former involves suspicions Netanyahu illicitly accepted some $200,000 in gifts such as cigars and champagne from two billionaires — Hollywood-based Israeli movie mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian magnate James Packer.
REPORTED BY THE TIMES OF ISRAEL