Media figures testify in day 2 of Liberman defense hearing

Channel 1 anchorwoman, producer testify regarding Ayalon interview.

June 12, 2013 13:14
1 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman in court May 29, 2013.

Liberman trial May 29, 2013 370. (photo credit: Pool/Maariv)

The second day of the defense hearing in the trial of former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman opened Wednesday at the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court.

Liberman is accused of fraud and breach of public trust in the case, referred to as the Belarusan Ambassador Affair, but has denied all of the charges.

The two central allegations in the case are that Liberman failed to report Ze'ev Ben-Aryeh, who illegally showed him classified material in an investigation against him, and that subsequently he actively promoted Ben-Aryeh to the Latvia position as “payment.”

Channel 1 anchorwoman Geula Even and her producer Yishai Cherniak testified Tuesday morning in regard to an interview given by then-deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon in which he said he did not recall Liberman instructing him to appoint Ben-Aryeh as ambassador to Latvia.

Army Radio cited Even as saying there was no preconditioned agreement with Ayalon that requested not to ask questions about the former deputy foreign minister's involvement in Liberman's appointment of Ben-Aryeh's.

Cherniak's testimony reflected that of Even's, it was reported.

According to the two Channel 1 employees, a few weeks after the interview with Ayalon, a spokeswoman for him called and confronted Cherniak about the agreement in question. Cherniak claimed he believed the spokesman was trying to record the conversation, Army Radio cited him as saying.

During Ayalon's testimony against Liberman last month, the interview he gave on Channel 1 in which he said Liberman had nothing to do with Ben-Aryeh’s appointment was played for him.

Confronted with his statements in the interview, Ayalon said that he could not possibly “incriminate the sitting foreign minister of Israel” in a public interview, with all of the consequences that would have, including for the state itself.

Ayalon clarified that essentially, while still a high-ranking government officer, he felt obligated to cover for Liberman, while making it clear that in court and before police he was “in a legal forum” and was “obligated to tell the truth.”

Accused of testifying against Liberman in retaliation for the Yisrael Beytenu chairman throwing him out of his job and the party, the former deputy minister said his firing had no impact on his testimony against his former boss.

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.

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