Netanyahu's trial could be expedited Wednesday

Justice minister tells Knesset AG to back off

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a ceremony to inaugurate a dozen factories in Ashkelon on December 2, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a ceremony to inaugurate a dozen factories in Ashkelon on December 2, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The legal adviser of the Knesset, attorney Eyal Yinon, is expected to issue a ruling on Wednesday that Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein cannot prevent a Knesset House Committee from being formed to reject immunity from prosecution for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Once Yinon’s ruling is issued, Blue and White faction chairman Avi Nissenkorn can convene his Knesset Arrangements 
Committee to form a House Committee, which is usually only established after a government is formed. There will be a majority on the House Committee for rejecting immunity, because a majority of the Knesset opposes it.

The moment the House Committee rejects 
immunity, Netanyahu’s criminal indictments in three cases could be officially filed to the Jerusalem District Court, which could then set a date for his trial. Once those hurdles are cleared, it is possible that the trial could begin before the March 2 election.

In a last-ditch effort to prevent this entire procedure, Justice Minister Amir Ohana wrote Yinon a fiercely-worded letter on Tuesday demanding he disqualify himself from dealing with the procedures related to Netanyahu’s criminal cases. Ohana said that because Yinon’s wife works for the state prosecution and worked on Netanyahus cases, Yinon had a conflict of interest.

Ohana warned Yinon that he could be guilty of the crime of breach of trust. Ohana wrote that if Yinon will not disqualify himself, Edelstein should remove him from his post.

Edelstein has been under pressure from Likud to stop the House Committee from being formed and from Blue and White to allow it to be established. Yinon’s ruling would help Edelstein out of that political quagmire.

The Movement for Quality Government accused Ohana of acting like a mafioso and said he should be ashamed of himself. Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg said Ohana was trampling the law to serve a prime minister indicted for bribery.