Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The High Court of Justice ruled late Monday that the police can make recommendations regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public corruption cases, rejecting a petition to block those recommendations.
The lightning-fast ruling came less than four hours after Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit asked for exactly that result.
Mandelblit not only asked the High Court to permit the recommendations to be publicized, but also asked it to speedily reject the petition to block those recommendations in order not to delay the police’s anticipated announcement, which is expected later this week.
Mandelblit cited precedent to support his argument, saying police recommendations do not bind the attorney-general, but only indicate whether law enforcement authorities think there is a critical mass of evidence in certain crimes.
The High Court accepted Mandelblit’s argument in its entirety.
Late Sunday, the attorney general ordered the police to delay filing their recommendations regarding Netanyahu’s corruption cases pending the outcome of the High Court petition.
The Justice Ministry spokesman told The Jerusalem Post
that the delay might only be a few days if the High Court itself does not delay the recommendations.
A petition by lawyer Yossi Fuchs had been pending before the High Court to block the police from making recommendations to Mandelblit regarding Netanyahu. Fuchs’s request was that the police simply convey a summary of all of the evidence without making an overall conclusion.
However, the recent law passed regarding police recommendations specifically does not apply to Case 1000 – the “Illegal Gifts Affair,” and Case 2000 – the “Media Bribery Affair.” Netanyahu publicly committed that he would not try to stop the police from passing on its recommendations, and his recent public statements have acknowledged the presumption that the police will publicly recommend that Mandelblit indict him – at least in Case 1000.
The Justice Ministry spokesman confirmed the expectation that the High Court would reject the petition, and the police recommendations would be forwarded shortly thereafter.
Still, it had been possible that the High Court could have granted the freeze pending a ruling on the broader issue. The ruling rejecting both the freeze and the entire petition within a matter of hours was nearly without precedent. In the supercharged atmosphere surrounding the case, any significant delay could have been interpreted as politically motivated.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office said it was unaware of the petition, beyond what had appeared in news reports.