Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit.
(photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/HAARETZ/MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit appeared to turn down a direct plea by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his lawyers to delay his decision on the public corruption cases until after the April 9 election.
Mandelblit’s written response late Thursday came following an unusual letter requesting the delay by Netanyahu’s lawyers on Wednesday.
Although Mandelblit did not and has not formally committed to announcing his decision in the public corruption cases against the prime minister prior to the election, all indications are that he will announce his decision before February 22, which is the date when all political party lists are set.
Mandelblit’s letter noted that his staff started their final deliberations before Netanyahu called for early elections and that their work would continue uninterrupted.
He did agree to meet with the lawyers next week, but there was no indication that he would change his mind.
Kan reported that Mandelblit had completed his work on Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla Affair, and is expected to accept the recommendation of the prosecution to indict Netanyahu for bribery in the case.
In an interview with Channel 12 broadcast Thursday night, Mandelblit said he was not paying attention to Netanyahu’s attacks on both him and the legal establishment, reiterating that he would make his decisions based only on the facts.
The Likud responded that “the prime minister is not dealing with messages against the attorney-general, only with his request for a fair process, as every citizen deserves.”
The party said that in a “fair process,” it takes 18 months from the police recommendations until a decision is made to indict pending a hearing, but in Netanyahu’s case the decision is being expedited to be completed before the election, without giving the prime minister the opportunity to respond and refute the charges against him.
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