(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ruled Tuesday morning that the crimes
which MK Tzahi Hanegbi was convicted of involved moral turpitude, the
Likud MK said that the decision "is a heavy blow, but I respect it."
Hanegbi pleads for his political life ahead of
Analysis: Hankering for Hanegbi
Additionally, the court did not sentence Hanegbi, as
the state requested, to a prison sentence. Hanegbi told a press conference he will send a letter to the Knesset confirming his departure."My
22 years of service in the Knesset are ending now," Hanegbi said. "This
moment is very sad. Sad because I know what challenges face Israel, and
my ability to assist the country is now weaker."
The lower court's decision means that Hanegbi will immediately be suspended from the current Knesset, but will still be able to run for a seat in the next one.
This means that there is nothing to prevent Hanegbi from becoming a cabinet minister.
Had he been sentenced to prison, including a suspended sentence, he would have been barred from serving on the cabinet for seven years.
Hanegbi also has the right to appeal against the lower court's decision, to the district court.
Should the higher court overturn the mortal turpitude ruling, Hanegbi would be able to return to the Knesset immediately.
In the meantime, however, the state has already announced it will appeal
the lower court's acquittal from the main charge in the indictment,
which was that Hanegbi had boasted of making thousands of political
appointments of Likud Central Committee members and their relatives.
The state had charged him with fraud and breach of faith over these allegations.
Judge Yoel Tsur, who wrote the minority opinion, insisted on reading his entire decision to those who attended the hearing.
Romanov, who read out the majority opinion, sufficed with a shorter
version of the decision. He was supported by Judge Oded Shaham.