Court orders Netanyahu prosecution to turn over additional documents

Some documents relate to top Netanyahu aides turned state's witnesses Nir Hefetz and Shlomo Filber.

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem in May. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem in May.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
The Supreme Court ordered the prosecution to turn over additional documents to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the other defendants in his public corruption case, overruling the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday.
The new material includes a draft of a document between Bezeq and former Netanyahu aide turned state’s witness Nir Hefetz, which defense lawyers say may help prove that Hefetz acted independently regarding allegations in Case 4000 that have been attributed to both him and Netanyahu.
The court also ordered the handing over of documents that relate to top Netanyahu aide turned state’s witness Shlomo Filber.
In addition, the court said that experts on behalf of the defense could have access to the cellphone of former Walla CEO Ilan Yeshua, another central witness against Netanyahu and the other defendants, in order to try to recall or restore various actions he took that were erased, or at least to determine what content was erased.
There were some additional documents and actions that the Supreme Court ordered, including telling the district court that it should review certain additional files from Case 1000 materials that did not make it into the indictment, as they might help the defense.
The district court had rejected defense arguments regarding these items.
A spokeswoman for the prosecution was unsure at press time whether they might file an appeal to a larger group of Supreme Court justices, as the ruling was issued only by Justice Yosef Elron.
However, the prosecution’s response seemed focused on spinning positive aspects of the ruling, saying that the prosecution won on denying the defense 30 out of 35 items they had requested.
Moreover, the prosecution said that Elron had rejected a central claim by the defense that the prosecution was systematically violating the defendants’ rights by refusing to turn over documents to which the defense claimed they were entitled.
Instead, Elron wrote that his decision to give the defense the five items in dispute came less as a rebuke of the prosecution and more from taking a liberal interpretation of what evidence could be given to the defense due to the public importance of the case.
The last pretrial hearing is scheduled for February 8.
Originally, the trial’s witness stage was due to start in December, then January, then February, but with the latest hearing postponed because of corona from January 13 to February 8, the Jerusalem District Court has not said when witnesses will be called.