Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit.
(photo credit: LIAV PELED)
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit gave a fuller explanation of his decision to delay Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearing on bribery charges on Tuesday, saying that he only granted a postponement after postponing for other defendants as well.
Mandelblit said that multiple other defendants in the three Netanyahu public corruption cases had asked for postponements to get more time to prepare.
He granted the other defendants a postponement from July 10 until August 15.
The attorney-general said that he gave Netanyahu a longer postponement, to October 2 or 3, because he was the only defendant involved in all three cases.
This meant that his lawyers deserved more time to prepare their cases, and he rejected allegations that he had ever caved to one side or another side of the political spectrum in any of his decisions regarding Netanyahu.
Mandelblit also emphasized that he refused to grant Netanyahu any extension until the prime minister’s lawyers bent by agreeing to accept the full evidentiary case file.
Netanyahu’s lawyers had refused to accept the case file for months, hoping to use that refusal as leverage to get the State Comptroller committee to grant the prime minister’s request to allow tycoon allies of his to pay his legal defense bills.
Eventually, Netanyahu appears to have agreed to pay some of the bills for the law firm of Amit Hadad, who is continuing with the cases, but not of Navot Tel Tzur, whose law firm has been handing over management of the case to Hadad.
In addition, the comptroller committee has given Netanyahu until late June to turn over financial documents to assess whether he is entitled to receive aid toward his legal defense.
State Attorney Shai Nitzan seconded all of Mandelblit’s comments that the state prosecution’s treatment of Netanyahu was proper.
He and others cited the prosecution’s sending former prime minister Ehud Olmert, identified with the Left, to jail as an example that their justice is blind to political considerations.
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